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News 12 WDEF (AP): According to The Daily Herald a Christian legal group sent the college a letter about Professor Linda Brunton’s psychology class assignment. The Alliance Defending Freedom said students complained to the group.
Tennessean: In the forthcoming newsletter to all members of the Rutherford County Bar, Taylor plans to offer specifics. “I have advised some women attorneys that a jacket with sleeves below the elbow is appropriate or a professional dress equivalent,” the letter reads. “Your personal appearance in court is a reflection upon the entire legal profession.”
Todd Starnes at Fox News: Students in a general psychology class at Columbia State Community College were directed by their professor to wear “Rainbow Coalition” ribbons for an entire day and express their support for the homosexual community, said Travis Barham, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom . . . “Dr. Brunton essentially turned her General Psychology class into a semester-long clinic on the demands of the homosexual movement,” Barham said.
“Tenn. Professor Requires Students to Support Gay Rights, Calls View of Those Opposed to Assignment ‘Ignorant’” | Christian Post
Christian Post: “Colleges should be the marketplace of ideas, not environments where professors manipulate students into advancing particular political agendas,” said Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham. “The Constitution does not allow any government official to force another person to adopt or advocate a particular moral or political view. But this professor did just that with this assignment and thus clearly violated freedoms protected by the First Amendment.”
Community college professor allegedly tells students: support gay rights or else | Daily Caller via Yahoo News
Daily Caller via Yahoo News: Travis Barham, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal organization, has sent a letter to Columbia State’s president on behalf of several students in Brunton’s class . . . Alliance Defending Freedom claims that Brunton instructed students to write a paper describing how they suffered discrimination because they support gay rights . . . “When students objected to how she was pushing her personal views on the class, she explained that it is her job ‘to educate the ignorant and uneducated elements of society,’” Barham told Fox News . . . “Dr. Brunton essentially turned her general psychology class into a semester-long clinic on the demands of the homosexual movement,” Barham added.
Todd Starnes at Townhall (also at Fox News): Students in a general psychology class at Columbia State Community College were directed by their professor to wear “Rainbow Coalition” ribbons for an entire day and express their support for the homosexual community, said Travis Barham, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Barham is calling for the college to punish Dr. Linda Brunton and order her to apologize to the students whose constitutional rights he believes were violated, according to a letter he sent to the community college president. “Dr. Brunton essentially turned her General Psychology class into a semester-long clinic on the demands of the homosexual movement,” Barham said.
Courier Post Online: The Rev. John Jackson from Trinity United Church of Christ in Gary, Ind., who is a former Chicago police officer, said there has to be a better alternative to jail time for drug use. “God does not care if you smoke weed,” he said. “God is not that petty.”
College assignment flunks First Amendment by forcing students to promote professor’s views | Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday on behalf of several Columbia State Community College students whose professor forced them to wear rainbow ribbons publicly supporting homosexual behavior in order to complete a class assignment.
Nate Kellum at American Thinker: Suppressing convictions of Americans because they happen to be religious in nature is unconstitutional and just plain wrong. The censorship betrays our roots as a nation. For the liberty to believe and express one’s beliefs is a freedom to which countless men have fought and died. Perhaps Costner’s courageous speech will help remind us of who we are.
The Chattanoogan: Pastor McClure will speak on the topic, “I Believe In God’s Model Of The Family” in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday. This message will focus on the Biblical pattern of marriage which God designed and God demands today. The church is participating in the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom Pulpit Initiative.
Religion Clause Blog: In Fisher v. Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission, (TN App., May 29, 2013), a Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s holding that Rutherford County had given inadequate public notice of a meeting which approved the site plan for the controversial Murfreesboro mosque.
Volokh Conspiracy: I just ran across the Tennessee statute, Tenn Code Ann. § 36-6-404, that provides the factors that courts are to consider in determining physical custody as between two parents. Many states have such lists of factors, but the bold text seems to me to be unique to Tennessee . . .
Knox News: Craig L. Garrett, Blount County attorney, said in a letter to commissioners that he is researching the issue and “will update the commission regarding the legal ramifications of this issue in the near future.”
The Daily Times: Under pressure from a Wisconsin-based advocacy group, the Blount County Commission tonight will consider approval of a formal written policy clarifying its practice of allowing prayer prior to its regular monthly meetings.
The Daily Times: Under pressure from an Wisconsin-based advocacy group, the Blount County Commission on May 16 will consider approval of a formal written policy clarifying its practice of allowing prayer prior to its monthly meetings.
Tennessean: Sheriff Robert Arnold decided to hang the Ten Commandments in the jail lobby despite a court order banning the Rutherford County Commission from doing the same at the County Courthouse.
MansfieldNewsJournal: Wampler is providing his services for free in part to fulfill his membership obligations to the Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, which advocates in the courtroom for religious liberty, the sanctity of life and marriage and family. “He’s trying to change people’s lives for the good,” Wampler said of Brummitt. [Alliance Alert Editor Note: Dee Wampler is an allied attorney. Alliance Defending Freedom is not a membership based organization]
Peter J. Reilly at Forbes: Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the nondenominational megachurch, told me that they are planning to appeal. The argument is that, in Tennessee, universities can run bookstores without affecting their property tax exemption and “family wellness centers” can run fitness clubs (As a matter of fact, the church has turned operation of the fitness center over to the YMCA), so churches should be able to also run both of them. For whatever it is worth, neither operation was a money maker.
KnoxNews.com: A bill to create a new state panel that could authorize charter schools when local school boards reject them has been revised to apply only in five counties, including Knox, and remains a contentious issue as legislators push toward adjourning the 2013 session.
Peter J. Reilly at Forbes: The church was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom. Erik Stanley of ADF had commented earlier in the litigation: “Tax exemptions for churches are vitally important because it doesn’t make sense to penalize organizations that help serve the community and don’t exist for profit–and that’s certainly true with this church,” Stanley explained. “The taxing authorities in this case determined that the facilities were not integral to a religious purpose of the church, but the government is ill-equipped to determine what is and what isn’t a legitimate religious use. That’s why it shouldn’t be delving into church affairs. Doing so violates the constitutionally protected rights of the church.”
CNSNews: “I write to express my shock and concern regarding a Planned Parenthood lobbyist who recently advocated in support of post-birth abortion before a state legislature,” Blackburn said in an April 3 letter to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “It is my sincere hope that your national organization will fully repudiate the radical position and hold your lobbyist fully accountable.”
Religion Clause Blog: In Christ Church Pentecostal v. Tennessee State Board of Equalization, (TN App., March 21, 2013), the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a determination by the State Board of Equalization that a portion of a church’s multi-million dollar family life center is not exempt from property taxes.
Business Week: Haslam, 55, a Republican, told lawmakers yesterday that Obama’s health-care overhaul might force hospitals to close as they lose money now channeled to caring for the poor.
Carly Pildis at Policymic: The bill was inspired by the case of Julea Ward, who was expelled from Eastern Michigan University for refusing to counsel LGBT students. She sued the university with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group, with EMU agreeing to a settlement of $75,000.
Steve Williams at Care2.com: However, neither Deberry or Hohenwald authored the bill. Conservative David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, drafted both versions of the bill with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, formally the Alliance Defense Fund, whose anti-gay agenda is well established. The ADF represented a Michigan student named Julea Ward who was expelled from a master’s degree program at Eastern Michigan University for refusing to counsel gay clients or clients who were sexually involved with someone but weren’t married. Ward received a $75,000 settlement last year. Another student, self-avowed devoted Christian Jennifer Keeton . . .
Tennessee Counseling Bill Would Let Student Psychologists Reject Gay Clients Without Punishment | Huffington Post
Huffington Post: That sparked what the Times called a trial of the counseling profession. Ward’s lawyers, a Phoenix-based Christian legal group called Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that if referrals to other counselors were common enough for non-religious reasons, Ward had been discriminated against for offering her religious beliefs as her reason for a referral.Hear Ward tell her story in the video below, posted on the Alliance Defending Freedom’s website . . .
Tennessean: It was inspired by a case in Michigan involving a Christian student named Julea Ward. She was expelled from a master’s degree program at Eastern Michigan University for refusing to counsel gay clients or clients who were sexually active but not married. She sued the school with help from Alliance Defending Freedom, a Phoenix-based Christian legal group. Ward eventually received a $75,000 settlement. The bill was drafted by conservative activist David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee . . .
KnoxNews.com: If the state Court of Appeals upholds a lower court’s ruling that Rutherford County officials held an illegal meeting when they approved plans for a new mosque, the question will be, “What next?”
KnoxNews.com: State Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville and Rep. Rick Womick of Rockvale said Wednesday in a news release that they instead will focus on persuading voters to pass a proposed constitutional amendment on abortion.
Times Free Press: A federal appeals court will hear arguments on April 24 on whether the Hamilton County commissioners must stop allowing invocations at public meetings.
Religion Clause Blog: In a Tennessee trial court last Monday, James Coots, pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to illegally possessing poisonous snakes.
National Review Bench Memos: The body passed a proposed constitutional amendment to reform the state’s judicial selection system, by an overwhelming margin of 29 to 2.
WBIR.com: A report from Alliance Defending Freedom, a Phoenix-based Christian legal group, claims that that audits of Planned Parenthood programs in 10 states showed about $8 million in overbilling. Whistleblower suits filed by former Planned Parent workers in California, Texas, and Iowa made similar claims. Michael Norton, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, is the lawyer in the Houston and Iowa suits. The Iowa suit accused was dismissed in district court, but he’s optimistic about the Houston suit. That suit accuses Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, based in Houston, of overbilling the Texas Women’s Health Program by $5.7 million, by charging for medical services related to abortion . . . Norton, an abortion foe, said he hopes that politicians will crack down on Planned Parenthood. “Everyone agrees that Planned Parenthood has to play by the same rules as anyone else,” he said.
Seattle Post Intelligencer: Two men seeking to stop public prayer before Hamilton County Commission meetings have filed an appeal of a federal judge’s refusal to issue a temporary injunction.
Tennessean.com: But attorney Matt Kairis argued on Thursday that this case is different. Kairis, representing the Diocese of Nashville, claimed that local nonprofits already have been injured by the mandate.
AP: Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who opposes abortion rights, testified during divorce proceedings that he and his former wife made a mutual decision for her to have two abortions, according to divorce transcripts released Thursday.
Seattle Post Intelligencer: A Tennessee Republican congressman won re-election on Tuesday overcoming revelations that he once had an affair with a patient and urged her to get an abortion.
The Hill: So far, six states have passed laws that seek to defund Planned Parenthood on their own — and the courts have blocked all six.
WATE.com: The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State posted a video to YouTube showing what it says is a local pastor praying before a recent Lenor City School board meeting.
TN: Sumner Co. School system goes to mediation over teacher prayer, ACLU wants $284,321 for attorney’s fees
Tennessean: The Sumner County Board of Education and American Civil Liberties Union settled a lawsuit over teacher-prayer and promoting Christianity in schools in December, but the two sides will soon head to mediation to work out a compromise in attorneys’ fees. Court records show attorneys representing the ACLU, the prevailing plaintiffs, are asking a judge to award $284,321 for legal fees and litigation expenses to be paid by the school board.
Brian Walsh at National Review: Today, a bipartisan group of over 100 legislators in nine states is announcing the nation’s first state legislative caucuses focused solely on religious freedom. These working groups of legislative leaders are being established in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. This is the first installment in a national plan to form state religious-freedom caucuses in all 50 states by the end of 2013.
LJWorld: Claiming religious freedom is under assault, 120 legislators in nine states, including Kansas, announced on Tuesday the formation of caucuses that they said would be dedicated to protecting religion from government intrusion.
Baptist Press: The University of Tennessee, in rejecting a request from the Freedom From Religion Foundation to eliminate the Volunteers’ traditional pregame prayer, has garnered praise from the Alliance Defending Freedom. South Carolina is the only other university in the SEC to offer a public invocation prior to football games.”We’re very pleased that the University of Tennessee has seen fit to disregard the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” said Travis Barham, litigation staff counsel for ADF. “We hope they continue to do that because the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been distorting the law, twisting the law, to support its jaundiced view of religion, its jaundiced view of the First Amendment.”
WREG.com: The Memphis City Council has adopted a new policy for the invocations held before each council meeting . . . The policy also advises as to how groups can sign up to be apart of the invocation.You can find the complete policy here: Prayer_Resolution-AJWv2
WBIR.com: On Wednesday, UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek responded to the group with a letter, stating that it will stand by the tradition of prayer before UT events.
LifeNews: The Diocese of Nashville and seven of the Catholic entities operating in Middle Tennessee have filed suit in Federal court to block the implementation of mandates by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Alan E. Sears at the Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: August was a wonderful month for your liberty at Alliance Defending Freedom, in which God has reminded us time and again, across a spectrum of important cases, how much He is blessing your good prayers and generous support for the work of defending religious freedom across our nation. Some highlights . . .
The New American: Attorney Brett Harvey of the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom applauded the ruling, noting that “since this nation’s founding, public meetings have been opened with prayer. There is no legal reason why Hamilton County’s citizens should be denied this freedom under the county’s policy.” Harvey emphasized that prayer “has always been lawful in America, and the district court rightly declined to stop the county from including prayer at its meetings. Secularist groups might not be happy with this, but an invocation offered according to the dictates of the giver’s conscience as part of a policy like Hamilton County’s is not an establishment of religion.”
WRCBTV.com (includes video): Commission Chairman Larry Henry and County Attorney Rheubin Taylor have referred all questions to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Arizona-based Christian legal group who authored its new prayer policy. The ADF also is lead defense counsel and is paying the Commission’s costs of defending its prayer policies.
Religion Clause Blog: In United States v. Rutherford County, Tennessee, (MD TN, Aug. 29, 2012), a Tennessee federal district court permitted neighbors of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to intervene in a RLUIPA lawsuit brought by the Justice Department.
Since this nation’s founding, public meetings have been opened with prayer. There is no legal reason why Hamilton County’s citizens should be denied this freedom under the county’s policy, which the court today affirmed as constitutional.
Commercial Appeal: The Freedom From Religion Foundation announced plans Sunday to sue the Memphis City Council over the opening prayer said before each meeting, calling it an unconstitutional breach of the separation of church and state.
The New American: The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which has gained its reputation (and a tidy living for its employees) by suing school districts and municipalities over public prayer, has chosen schools in Mississippi and Tennessee as its latest targets. According to the Mississippi Press website, the Wisconsin-based atheist group has threatened all 151 Mississippi school superintendents with lawsuits if they allow prayer over public address systems during school football games.
TimesFreePress.com: Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is responding to what it calls “confusion” about the role of a Muslim staffer and a council that has advised two state departments on Islamic affairs. The Republican governor was criticized this summer by several GOP groups over what they perceived as the growing influence of a version of the Islamic code called Shariah in state government.
AP on NECN.com: An atheist group has asked the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to discontinue Christian prayers before football games.
LifeNews: A judge issued a ruling that pro-life groups said was favorable for the much-needed law. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys representing Allen County say the court order the judge issued denies most of abortion practitioner George Klopfer’s motion to stop critical aspects of the new Patient Safety Ordinance. ADF tells LifeNews.com that means those provisions can go into effect and that the door is open for other Indiana counties to enact similar legislation. “A patient’s health is more important than an abortionist’s bottom line,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden.
Blog of the Legal Times: A federal district judge in Tennessee has been asked to void the results of this month’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary vote, won by a man associated with an organization the state’s Democratic party has described as a hate group.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: I’ve blogged quite a bit about why broad bans on the use of foreign law in American courts are improper. But what about narrower limitations, such as the American Laws for American Courts proposal that has been enacted in some form in Arizona, Louisiana, and Tennessee?
WRCBTV: The Wednesday morning meeting of the Hamilton County Commission started with a lengthy public prayer and ended with political fireworks directed at the county school board.
AP on TimesFreePress.com: It’s finally opening day for a Tennessee mosque after opponents waged a two-year court battle trying to stop it.
FFRF: U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Breen approved a settlement yesterday between the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Town of Whiteville, Tenn. The Agreed Judgment ends a lawsuit brought by FFRF against the town and its mayor, James Bellar, over several crosses on town property.
Reuters: A new mosque in Tennessee that has faced fierce community opposition was granted permission by county officials to open on Tuesday, in time for the final days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Tennessean: For more than two years, Rutherford County has been in the middle of a perfect storm over Islam. While furor over the “ground zero” mosque in New York has faded, the dispute over the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro — which began around the same time — has only grown more intense.
Tennessean: In January, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted an overhauled code of conduct that applied to judges across the state, intended to draw a clear line between courts and politics.
AP on MySanAntonio: Coleman is alleging the incident was a violation of Fourth Amendment rights that guard against unreasonable seizure. He was tossed out after another man had spoken during the period and questioned the commission’s decision to accept free legal representation from the Alliance Defense Fund in the lawsuit. The fund is a Washington-based legal alliance of Christian attorneys.
Politico: Tennessee multimillionaire Andy Miller has been warning for years about the lurking threat he says Sharia law poses to America. But this summer, his anti-Islam campaign has become the main act of a riveting Middle Tennessee congressional race, as Miller has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a pair of super PACs aiming to take out GOP freshman Rep. Diane Black in her Thursday primary.
Citizen Link: Unfortunately, we are seeing battles like this all across the country,” said Brett Harvey, who is representing the county along with Senior Counsel Bryan Beauman, both with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Chattanoogan: The Alliance Defense Fund is representing the county at no charge. Christian activists June Griffin and Charles Wysong had sought to enter the case in behalf of the county’s position, but that was not allowed.
Religion Clause Blog: In Crider v. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (6th Cir., July 23, 2012), a Seventh Day Adventist was fired from her position as one of the coordinators of the University of Tennessee’s Programs Abroad when she refused to perform work-related tasks from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.a
Available for media interviews following preliminary injunction hearing in Coleman v. Hamilton County Government. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are co-counsel in defense of the Tennessee county’s policy that allows public meetings to be opened with an invocation.
Knox News: Eleven of Tennessee’s 12 Court of Appeals judges have declined to be involved in an appeal of John Jay Hooker’s latest effort to invalidate the state’s system for selecting appeals court judges.
American Prospect: In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, just outside Nashville, the Muslim community won a hard-fought victory Wednesday. After a two-year legal battle that inflamed anti-Islamic sentiment across the state, a federal judge ruled that a new Islamic community center could get the permits necessary to open. Elsewhere in the state, however, Muslim residents got a cold reminder this week of just how much prejudice exists around them.