Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
ADF Media: An Alliance Defending Freedom letter and presentation to the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board prompted it to vote 3-2 in favor of requiring Gilbert Public Schools to comply with Arizona law and provide curriculum to students that encourages to child birth over elective abortion.
WorldWatch Monitor: The Turkish education system’s mandatory religion classes are not fair to students who do not follow the country’s majority Sunni Islam and must amend its policies, according to a recent verdict of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Aleteia: Wiccans and other pagans belong to one of the fastest growing religions in the United States. The 2012 U.S. census shows an increase in self-identified Wiccans from 8,000 in 1990, to 134,000 (2001), to 342,000 (2008). Those who call themselves pagan, but do not worship as Wiccans, numbered 140,000 in 2001 and grew to 340,000 in 2008.
Public Discourse: The traditional pillars of religion that support a view of God as transcendent Creator remain unshaken by the discoveries of modern science.
Campus Reform: “Simply hearing another pray, burdens no one,” Brett Harvey from the Alliance Defending Freedom told Campus Reform.”Limiting the way a person is able to pray suppresses religious freedom. True freedom permits a prayer giver to choose for themselves how to pray, while permitting those to hear it the liberty to agree, disagree, or disregard.”
AZ Family: The discussion in Gilbert was first brought up by a conservative Christian law organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom. According to board member Jill Humpherys, Alliance Defending Freedom had complained to GPS Superintendent Christina Kishimoto over the summer.
Townhall (Reuters): The mention of the morning-after pill being able to “induce an abortion” prompted a Scottsdale-based legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, to write to the Gilbert Public Schools superintendent in August saying a parent had raised concerns the text was not compliant with state legislation. Some conservative Christians believe life begins at the moment of conception.
AZ Central: The board made its decision after listening to a presentation by Natalie Decker, an attorney for Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom, an advocacy group that brought the chapter to board members’ attention.
Public Discourse: Contemporary sex education prepares young men and women not for the fullness of friendship, intimacy and love, but for casual relationships and recreational sex.
National Review: After nearly a month of defending them, Lincoln Public Schools District in Nebraska has finally agreed to stop using the infamous “purple penguin” transgender training handouts.
The Christian Institute: Christian groups at California State University have been stripped of recognition because they refused to sign a policy which would require them to open their membership and leadership to all students, including non-Christians.
AZ Central: Smith said she raised questions about the text in January after a comment from a constituent. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal organization that recently defended Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage, raised the issue in a letter to Gilbert Superintendent Christina Kishimoto in August.
Gilbert Public Schools board votes to redact textbooks for abortion content, cite possible violation of state law
East Valley Tribune: The board voted 3-2 at its meeting on Oct. 28 to redact pages from its textbooks given to students that do not offer childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortions, which falls under Arizona Revised Statute 15-115. The move came after both a community member and the Alliance Defending Freedom – a faith-based legal organization – expressed concerns the district violated the statute by using a biology book they said mentions abortion without emphasizing childbirth or adoption.
One News Now: The Bible verses were taken out of the cards and the student was “basically handing out blank Valentine’s cards,” says Matt Sharp, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the first grader.
The Christian Institute: New Government standards represent a “curb on freedom long enjoyed by faith schools”, a commentator writing in The Jewish Chronicle has said.
The Tennessean (AP): Students and administrators on the Johnson City campus of East Tennessee State University are wondering about the impact three days of sex education known as Sex Week may have on the campus.
Campus Reform: The University of North Carolina – Wilmington celebrated “abortion heroes,” including those who performed illegal abortions, during an event last week.
Public Discourse: Notre Dame’s acceptance of the same-sex marriage movement’s rhetorical paradigm has made our nation’s flagship Catholic institution impotent. Yet there is an opportunity for the Notre Dame community to model ways to promote the good amid the crumbling ruins of institutional integrity.
The Christian Institute: A school which was told by Ofsted that it could face closure for failing to uphold ‘British values’ has written to the Education Secretary urging her to review controversial new education standards.
Christian News Network: Notre Dame University, a popular Roman Catholic institution, will host a controversial conference entitled “Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity” this week for those who identify as homosexuals but who hold to Catholic teachings on sexuality and marriage.
Christian News Network: The University of California’s San Francisco campus has launched the nation’s first-ever online abortion class, creating both interest and outrage across the nation.
Canon and Culture: Christians within secular academic institutions have always had to navigate varying degrees of hostile waters as they seek to live out an active faith.
Christianity Today (Featuring our own Kevin Theriot): Common Core will likely have only an indirect effect on religious liberty—at least initially. But advocates for religious liberty and the family still have genuine cause for concern.
One News Now: ADF legal counsel Matt Sharp says it’s unfortunate that such incidents are happening nationwide.
Nazareth Area School District settles lawsuit over banned Valentine’s Day cards with religious notes
Lehigh Valley Live: In a statement, Matt Sharp, an ADF attorney, commended the school district for the policy change. “Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas,” he said. “That includes respecting a student’s freedom to include a Bible verse and a reference to God in a Valentine’s Day card.”
The Morning Call: The Georgia-based Alliance Defending Freedom filed the lawsuit in April on behalf of Donald and Ellen Abramo after school officials removed messages explaining the religious history of Valentine’s Day from cards the first-grader, identified in court papers only as J.A., planned to distribute to his friends.
The Global Dispatch: “Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas. That includes respecting a student’s freedom to include a Bible verse and a reference to God in a Valentine’s Day card,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “We commend Nazareth Area School District for revising its speech policy so that it respects student religious expression.”
North American Ministries: “Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas. That includes respecting a student’s freedom to include a Bible verse and a reference to God in a Valentine’s Day card,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “We commend Nazareth Area School District for revising its speech policy so that it respects student religious expression.”
ADF Media: Nazareth Area School District has revised its policy restricting student religious expression in the wake of a federal lawsuit Alliance Defending Freedom filed on behalf of a 1st grade student and his parents. In a settlement agreement approved by a federal district court and resulting in a voluntary dismissal filed Wednesday, the school district acknowledged that it had changed its policy and would recognize that the First Amendment protects student religious expression.
First Things: Recently, an academic administrator informed me that passing judgment on others’ sexual orientation or religious beliefs was grounds for exclusion from partnership with the university office she represents. This was hardly a surprise.
First Things: On August 6, 2012, I published an essay in Public Discourse, entitled “Growing Up with Two Moms.” It described my life growing up with a lesbian mother and her partner.
Patheos (The Capstone): Margery Eagan writes in Crux about professors who must hide their Christian faith amidst lingering prejudice in the academy. Her story focuses on Jeffrey Reimer, Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cal Berkeley. He is the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Distinguished Professor in Chemical Engineering and the C. Judson King Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering there.
USA Today: Almost a year after a painting of Jesus was removed from a high school here, a sign showing the same image is on private property in view of the school.
One News Now: “All they do is cabin speech into these small boxes on campus so that students really have very little rights to speak, which is unfortunate, and it’s downright censorship,” David Hacker of Alliance Defending Freedom submits.
Christian News Network: A school board in Georgia has voted unanimously to remove two Scriptures from a sculpture that sits outside of the field house at a local high school after a prominent humanist and atheist organization asserted that the use of the verses violated the U.S. Constitution.
One News Now: Feeling the pressure from outside and inside the school, a Christian college in Massachusetts is reviewing its policy that prohibits homosexual behavior.
One News Now: When one North Carolina parent was told that she was not permitted to withdraw her kindergarten daughter from public elementary school in order to homeschool her, she knew she had a problem.
The Christian Post: The Madison County School Board in Georgia unanimously voted Tuesday to remove two Bible verses from a monument donated to its high school football team, fearing a lawsuit from a Washington, D.C.-based secular organization.
The Blaze: “Christian students don’t abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms at the schoolhouse gate,” said Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. “Their freedom to express their beliefs includes the right to bring their Bible to school, to read it during their free time, and to engage in other activities as part of ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day.’”
Focus on the Family sponsors ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day’, encourages students to talk about their faith
Huffington Post: The U.S. Department of Education has explicitly stated that students are within their rights when they pray, say grace and read from religious texts during non-instructional time. But to make ensure students’ rights are protected, conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom released a legal memo.
The Christian Times: The Alliance Defending Freedom group also stood behind Thursday’s event, with Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney for the group, saying in a statement: “Christian students don’t abandon their constitutionally protected freedoms at the schoolhouse gate.”
Christian News Network: Bart Campolo, the son of ‘progressive’ social justice activist Tony Campolo, recently took the position of humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California just under a year after coming out to his father as an agnostic.
Christian News Network: Coach-led prayers are no longer allowed at a high school in South Dakota after a prominent atheist activist organization sent a letter of complaint asking that the practice be discontinued.
Alliance Defending Freedom: It came as a shock to many people recently when they learned that the California State University System was forcing InterVarsity Christian Fellowship off campus because the group refused – justifiably – to abandon its core Christian message. But while InterVarsity’s announcement was news to many, it was only the latest in a decades-long battle for Christian groups at universities nationwide – a battle that students will eventually win if they stand by their convictions.
University students threatened by officials for distributing U.S. Constitution copies outside of controversial “free speech zone”
HNGN: “Caging students in censorship zones flies in the face of the First Amendment and undermines the reason for education,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform. “Colleges and universities are and should be the marketplace of ideas, and the Constitution protects the speech rights of everyone, not just groups or students that a few university officials personally choose.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom is making available a legal memo that explains and reinforces the First Amendment freedom of students to participate in “Bring Your Bible to School Day” on Thursday. The event, sponsored by Focus on the Family, encourages participating students to bring their Bibles to school and discuss it with their fellow classmates during non-instructional time.
The Christian Post: A New York high school has lifted its ban on a Christian student organization after first rejecting the students’ request for renewal.
Canon and Culture: Tish Warren’s recent essay in Christianity Today brought many questions back up to the surface for me and many Christians who have been associated with Vanderbilt University over the past few years. Did we do everything we could to stand up for truth in a loving and compassionate way during the debates over religious association policies? What role did we play as we urged administrators to realize we are not the equivalent of segregationists and we just want to ensure our Christian organization leaders are in fact followers of Christ? What lessons can other students at other schools learn from what we went through?
Campus Reform: “Caging students in censorship zones flies in the face of the First Amendment and undermines the reason for education,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom has delivered letters to the Minnesota State High School League, Wisconsin’s Sparta Area School District, and Rhode Island’s Westerly Public Schools that ask them to reject new rules that would require schools to allow children to use bathrooms and changing areas reserved for the opposite sex. ADF offers a suggested policy for school districts that addresses the concerns which prompted the problematic policies but do not require the sharing of bathrooms and locker rooms.
Alliance Defending Freedom: For many, going to college is a rite of passage. It is the first foray into true adulthood—away from parents. College students are encouraged to learn, to satisfy their curiosity, and to further form the beliefs, ideals, and values that will accompany them through later stages in life.
CBN: Prayers at high school football games are being challenged in two states.
Christian News Network: A school district in Nebraska is facing opposition over its teacher and administrative training, which urges faculty to stop using gender-specific terms such as “boys and girls,” but to rather utilize more inclusive language so as to accommodate transgender students or those who don’t think they fit into any gender.
Christian News Network: A Christian college in Massachusetts has announced that it will take at least a year to review its policy prohibiting homosexual behavior in light of scrutiny from a local accreditation board.
The Christian Post: In response to my October 3rd article, “Gordon College, Don’t Sell Your Soul for Secular Accreditation,” a representative of the school reached out to me with some very positive news, assuring me that the school had no intention of changing its policy on homosexual practice.
Sycamore Trust e-mail: Hard on the heels of the Supreme Court’s refusal to review lower court decisions validating gay marriage in states including Indiana, Notre Dame announced it would “extend benefits to all legally married spouses, including same-sex spouses.”
One News Now: “The letters [from FFRF] weren’t specifically about teachers keeping Bibles on their desks,” ADF attorney Rory Gray explains. “But basically what happened was it scared some school administrators, and they told teachers they couldn’t put the Bibles on their desks or keep Scriptural references in their private desk areas.”
Andrew Sullivan: They key issue here, it seems to me, is whether the college’s orthodox views about sex are being fairly implemented. If the prohibition against non-marital sex is enforced only on gay students, we have a problem. But there is no evidence that it is. And the college – which implemented its own review of this policy – seems attuned (see the last sentence) to the problems for gay students in such a setting.
National Review: A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead.
One News Now: Travis Barham, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, tells OneNewsNow that the advisor misused the First Amendment in the decision to refuse the play’s content. “The First Amendment says – and the Supreme Court says this over and over again – the government is required to treat religious speech the same way it would treat other speech,” he explains.
Alliance Defending Freedom: One thing we just don’t seem to ever run out of at Alliance Defending Freedom are opportunities to stand for the freedom of students at taxpayer-funded colleges and universities to speak and live out their faith on campus.
The Christian Institute: Calls for compulsory sex education in Scotland have been heavily criticised by a Scottish Conservative MSP and a Free Church minister – who described them as ‘indoctrination’.
The Christian Institute: New education standards which may politicise the curriculum pave the way for schools being sued over what they teach, according to a senior QC.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: But according to David J. Hacker, a senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has sued on behalf of religious groups, refusing to let Christian groups require their leaders to be devout is ultimately “silly.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom is making available a legal memo that explains and reinforces the First Amendment freedom of students and teachers to participate in “Fields of Faith” Oct. 8. In 2004, Fellowship of Christian Athletes developed Fields of Faith, an annual, student-organized, and student-led gathering at school athletic fields after school where students read the Bible, hear testimonies, worship, and pray for each other.
Christian News Network: A prominent atheist activist organization is seeking to end the presentation of optional Bible classes at several elementary schools in North Carolina.
Students for Life: Following National Pro-Life Chalk Day last week, where pro-life student groups drew positive messages with chalk at their colleges, universities and high schools across the country, students at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI found today that vandals that covered their drawings with the Nazi swastika symbol and threw water on the chalkings as well.
AZ Central (The Republic): Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said his group received a complaint from a Peoria teacher that employees were told that all religious items must be removed from personal spaces.
The Christian Post: ADF attorney Travis Barham wrote a letter to the college alleging that drama instructor Jack Landry told Justin Graves he “could not support the overtly Christian show” because the Wilmington, N.C., college is a publicly-funded institution.