Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Christian Institute: The Department for Education’s controversial ‘British values’ rules have received strong criticism in Parliament.
The Guardian: A plan to to challenge young children’s ideas about gender through play at schools in northern Italy – including with a memory game that contains images of male homemakers and female plumbers – has created a storm of protest, with some politicians saying the effort will confuse children about their sexual identity.
KETK NBC: An East Texas principal has come under fire anti-religion groups after a student recorded the school leader reportedly quoting Bible verses over the intercom during the morning announcements.
ERLC: The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lower court decision that originally favored the federal government today. This action revives the University of Notre Dame’s religious objection to the requirement for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Reuters: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived the University of Notre Dame’s religious objections to the requirement for contraception coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, throwing out a lower court decision in favor of the federal government.
Acton Institute: Earlier today the Supreme Court threw out an appeals court decision that went against the University of Notre Dame over its religious objections to the Obamacare health law’s contraception requirement.
Life News: The Supreme Court has weighed in on the lawsuit Notre Dame filed against the HHS mandate compelling religious groups and businesses to pay for drugs for their employees that may cause abortions.
Christian Concern: Last month, the Government responded to concerns over the impact of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on ‘freedom of expression’ in universities by introducing a new clause into the Act and promising to re-draft proposed guidance. However, media reports now suggest that the Government may be planning to back-track on its promise.
Tuscaloosa News (AP): The Alabama Supreme Court on Monday upheld a GOP-championed school-choice law that gives tax credits to help some families pay for private school.
Alliance Defending Freedom: If some California legislators are to be believed, Catholic schools that enforce a teacher code of conduct that is consistent with the Catholic faith are in danger of discriminating.
The Guardian: New York City schools have added two Muslim holidays to their calendars for official days off, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.
Religion Clause: In Newbrough v. Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools, (ND IA, Feb. 23, 2015), an Iowa federal magistrate judge held that the provision in Section 702 of the 1964 Civil Right Act that exempts religious institutions from Title VII’s religious discrimination provisions applies to the termination of the chief financial officer of the Sioux City Catholic schools in an administrative restructuring.
Pacific Justice Institute: A school district in Southern California has added legal muscle to its defense against a lawsuit that was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The Fire: In two previous Torch entries on Professor John McAdams’s fight to keep his tenure at Marquette University, I’ve focused on Marquette’s abuses of McAdams’s due process rightsand the subversions of basic free speech principles it has used first to justify his suspension, and then to justify its aim of revoking his tenure.
The Washington Post: In response to two male athletes on its volleyball team coming out in an article published on OutSports.com last year, the college, which is aligned with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian tradition, released a strongly worded denouncement of homosexuality on campus that many read to be a behavioral ban.
LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM? Housing for 15 alternative sexualities is OK, but men-only fraternities are not, Wesleyan University says
The Christian Post: Wesleyan University housing has an option for students who want to live with others identifying with one of 15 categories — LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM. The university’s inclusiveness excludes, however, male-only fraternities.
Still Searching: What happens when an individual (student, staff or faculty member) decides they want to join a community like Biola but live in a manner that is inconsistent with the institution’s convictions? Whose rights matter more? The individual who refuses to sacrifice the freedom to behave in a way they say is essential to their identity, or the institution that refuses to sacrifice the convictions they, similarly, say are essential to their identity?
The College Fix: When Cal Poly Sal Luis Obispo hosts its annual Open House this April, during which campus clubs typically greet and recruit prospective visiting students, one longtime mainstay at the university will be conspicuously absent: Cru.
KNPR News: A Republican-sponsored bill strengthening protections for public school students’ religious activities is being met with stiff opposition.
The New York Times: Other church leaders, including those in Oakland, Calif., Cincinnati, Cleveland and Honolulu, have instituted similar teacher morality clauses with far less protest. In Oakland, three teachers quit rather than adhere to the rules. But in San Francisco, in addition to the petitions and protests, eight state legislators from the Bay Area have asked the archbishop to withdraw the clause as discriminatory. Two of them called for an investigation, accusing the archbishop of using religion “as a Trojan horse to deprive our fellow citizens of their basic civil rights.”
Religion Clause: Three senior faculty members at the University of Notre Dame earlier this week published an interesting attack on the decision by Notre Dame University and some other Catholic institutions to grant same-sex couples who are legally married the same employee benefits available to married heterosexual couples.
Religion Clause: Knox v. Union Township Board of Education, (D NJ, Feb. 23, 2015), is a suit by a former tenured special education teacher at a public high school in New Jersey who was suspended after a posting comments on her personal Facebook page expressing her religious disapproval of a school billboard that promoted alternative homosexual lifestyles.
Journal Scene: “We had one school district who told a teacher she could not play Christian Christmas carols in the classroom during class changes in the school,” he said, adding his team is working with a legal team, Alliance Defending Freedom, the same group that was involved in the Hobby Lobby case, to pass legislation that will allow people to celebrate Christmas in public schools.
WTHR (Kokomo Tribune): The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national membership association based in Wisconsin, submitted a letter Monday to Eastern Schools Superintendent Tracy Caddell, requesting the school district correct what the foundation considers constitutional violations that illegally promote religion in school.
Ed Excellence: As I explain in Education Next, a more holistic approach would also take seriously what Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution call the “success sequence”: get at least a high school diploma, work full time, and wait till you are at least twenty-one and married before having children. They estimate that 98 percent of individuals who follow those three norms will not be poor, and almost three-quarters will be solidly middle class. On the flip side, three-quarters of young people who fail to follow any of those norms will be poor, and almost none will be middle class.
Family Studies: How can we address the decline of marriage and the rise of single parenting in America? Most answers to that question center on reforming the social safety net to address marriage penalties, widening access to contraception, improving relationship education programs, and increasing the availability of stable, well-paying jobs. In a new article for Education Next, Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, proposes another way to tackle the problem: Involve schools.
The State (Greenville News): The proposed policy is based on one that the U.S. Supreme Court approved in a case involving the town of Greece, New York, that state Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a letter to the Pickens County School Board’s attorney provides “a road map” for the board to follow.
The Tablet: One of Britain’s leading universities is considering removing a window dedicated to Lord Carey, a former archbishop of Canterbury, from its façade because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.
The Christian Institute: A political science professor in the United States has been suspended for supporting a student’s right to free speech.
First Things: When I started graduate school in English in the early 90s, I thought that a certificate in Women’s Studies would widen my training and help my career. My university happened to have a famous professor in the field, a pioneer in academic feminism who had created one of the first graduate degree programs in Women’s Studies. A tough, learned woman with exacting standards, she did not suffer fools or histrionic students lightly. She was also a conservative.
WRAL (AP): A Republican-sponsored bill intended to strengthen protections for Nevada public school students’ religious activities met stiff opposition during a hearing Monday.
Crux (AP): Two California lawmakers who called the San Francisco archbishop’s morality clauses discriminatory are asking for a probe of working conditions at four San Francisco Bay Area Catholic high schools.
Christian Concern: A Christian ethos school in Durham has asked Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to step aside from making any decision regarding its future because she is “tainted with bias”.
The Christian Institute: British Christian schools could face a European Commission investigation, following complaints from a humanist campaign group.
SF Weekly: San Francisco parents of children enrolled at local Catholic schools were recently shocked to discover that their children are attending schools run by Catholics.
Petoskey News: A group of Republican state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill in the Michigan House of Representatives that prohibits public school officials from discriminating against students or their parents based on a religious viewpoint or expression.
CNA/EWTN: Politicians have targeted San Francisco Catholic schools’ teacher standards, but Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone says they are a matter of Catholic mission and common sense.
CBS Connecticut (AP): Members and alumni of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Wesleyan University have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Connecticut school over a recent decision that requires all residential fraternities to become coed within three years.
Religion News Service: San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has rejected criticism from state lawmakers over the use of morality clauses for Catholic schoolteachers, asking whether they would “hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those you stand for?”
First Things: Several friends contacted me over the weekend with news that Wesleyan University has taken the ever-expanding list of initials used to refer to sexual identities to new heights of absurdity or sensitivity, depending on one’s perspective. We are now apparently up to fifteen letters: LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM.
The Vanguard: The lawsuit filed last April was put into motion by the USA Students for Life group in conjunction with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
USA Today: Following a week of protest and debate, the Nassau County School Board has decided that the Yulee High student who has ended his morning public announcement readings with “God Bless America” can continue giving the country his well-wishes despite atheists’ disapproval.
Christian News Network: A prominent atheist activist organization has sent letters to school districts throughout Oklahoma in an effort to stop Bible distributions in public schools.
Religion News Service: Christians and Jews are exempt from compulsory Islamic courses because Turkey recognizes them as religious minorities. But atheists, agnostics and Alevi adherents are unrecognized and therefore come under the state-sponsored Sunni umbrella, religious rights advocates say.
Crux Now (AP): California lawmakers on Tuesday urged the archbishop of San Francisco to remove from a teachers’ handbook morality clauses they say are discriminatory and divisive.
Family Studies: Children’s educational outcomes—their cognitive skills, grades, and educational attainment—are closely linked to their parents’ level of education.
Life Site News: As America’s pro-life movement advances to protect mothers and pre-born children, many work daily on diverse efforts — in crisis pregnancy centers, in churches praying faithfully, on the mission field, in public policy groups… in a thousand other places.
The Washington Post: May the government exclude “religious worship services” when opening up school space after hours to a range of private community groups?That’s the question the Court has been asked to review in Bronx Household of Faith v. Bd. of Ed. of the City of New York. The court may decide Friday whether to hear the case (though it can always put off the decision for some weeks).
National Review: The justices really ought to take this one, both to slap down an intransigent Second Circuit and to vindicate a core constitutional principle: The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not in any way authorize, and the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses do not permit, direct government discrimination against religion, religious persons, religious groups, or religious expression in government programs, policies, benefits, or forums. Ever.
Tulsa World: The reported distribution of Bibles in several Oklahoma public schools has sparked letters of complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
The Stream: I once asked my late father if he had any experiences with anti-Semitism. There weren’t many. Although that was probably in part because of his scoring methodology. The Irish kids who beat up the Jewish kids in his Bronx neighborhood didn’t do so because they were anti-Semitic, but because “they had to fight somebody,” as my dad put it. Today, such behavior would probably be called a hate crime.
Campus Reform: “Public Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas where all viewpoints are considered, not censored as the article suggests,” David Hacker, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform in an email. “Not to mention all Americans, including adult students, have first amendment rights. For instance, we have represented students whose religious speech was censored so a different ideological agenda can be propagated without dissent. This is not only unconstitutional, but goes against the free-flow of ideas a thorough education demands.”
The Christian Institute: Children in all primary and secondary schools should be taught sex education, a committee of MPs has said.
Christian News Network: Homeschooling organizations continue to express opposition to plans by the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission to monitor certain homeschoolers to prevent future acts of violence such as occurred in 2012 during the notorious Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
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: Students at the University of Aberystwyth in the U.K. are seeking the removal of Gideon Bibles from their dorm rooms as the presence of the Scriptures allegedly makes them feel “uncomfortable.”
Christian News Network: The recently-released findings from an in-depth study of nearly 10,000 young adults show that Millennials who were homeschooled are less likely to leave the faith than individuals who attended private or public schools.
WSAZ: A school in Jackson County, West Virginia, is facing religious scrutiny over a memorial honoring a teacher who passed away.
‘God Bless America’ morning announcement at Florida school deemed a ‘Constitutional violation’ by atheist group; student forced to drop phrase
The Christian Post: A legal law group representing atheist students in Florida has said that a daily morning announcement at Yulle High School which includes the statement “God bless America” is a constitutional violation. The school has, in turn, agreed make the student who added the phrase on his own accord to stop saying it.
The Christian Post: A school district in Florida is considering a complaint sent by a Washington, D.C.-based atheist organization regarding a high school’s morning announcement including the phrase “God Bless America.”
LJ World: A committee of the Kansas Board of Regents will soon start reviewing how the legalization of same-sex marriage could affect state universities.
The Christian Institute: Students in Aberystwyth are pushing for thousands of Gideon Bibles to be removed from university accommodation.
Pacific Justice Institute Press Release: A Northern California school under fire for religious discrimination has agreed to change its policies and settle a student’s First Amendment lawsuit.
LA Times: San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone sparked a protest last summer when he ignored pleas from public officials to cancel his plans to march in Washington, D.C., against same-sex marriage.
Christian News Network: According to reports, the Orange County School Board permitted FFRF to distribute several books and pamphlets, including a booklet entitled “What’s Wrong With The Ten Commandments?” and a brochure entitled “What Is An Atheist?” However, the board prohibited FFRF from giving students several other publications, citing the materials’ “disruptive” and inappropriate content.
Associated Press: Parents in a Pennsylvania school district are turning 50 shades of red over word search puzzles given to middle school students based on an erotic novel and movie.
Fox News: A Florida high school student was disciplined after a national atheist organization took offense when he concluded the morning announcements by saying “God Bless America.”
Christian Today: A humanist group in Greenville County, South Carolina is seeking summary judgment in its case against the use of prayers in public schools in the county.
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.
The Cabin (AP): Classrooms could be filled with Christmas trees, menorahs and other religious holiday imagery under a bill filed by an Arkansas lawmaker.