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The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

Archive for August, 2010

Judge Denies Online Religious Group’s Bid for Church Status

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 25, 2010

By Clifford M. Marks

God may be listening, but the IRS isn’t — or at least, not if you’re preaching online.

The federal tax agency won a victory Monday for its decision not to grant church status to a religious organization that primarily conducts its worship services via radio and internet, reports the National Law Journal.

Why would it matter? Becasue non-church non-profits are subject to greater regulatory scrutiny and oversight than are churches.

The Foundation of Human Understanding, “based upon Judeo-Christian beliefs and the doctrine and teachings of its founder,” Roy Masters, had appealed the IRS classification to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where a three-judge panel waded into the murky waters of church classification precedent.

Despite what Federal Circuit Judge William Bryson said was a decided dearth of guidance about how to apply the “church” label, the panel largely looked to the associational test, which requires that members meet regularly for organized worship. Not good news for the Foundation of Human Understanding.

“The fact that all the listeners simultaneously received the Foundation’s message over the radio or the Internet does not mean that those members associated with each other and worshiped communally,” Bryson wrote.

Neither the foundation, its lawyer, nor the IRS returned a request for comment from the National Law Journal.

But never fear, digital disciples. The ruling may well leave room for chat room worship to qualify for the church moniker, non-profit attorney Arthur Rieman tells the NLJ.

But Rieman does worry that if the IRS doesn’t clarify its classifications, non-profits conducting board meetings electronically could run afoul of the agency.

“If my clients’ boards of directors can meet that way, is it much different than allowing a church congregation to congregate that way and hold a worship service?” he asked. “The IRS is going to have to address that sooner or later.”

Courtesy of http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/08/18/judge-denies-online-religious-groups-bid-for-church-status/

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Florida School Faces Court Hearing After Banning Bibles on Religious Freedom Day

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 24, 2010

Fort Myers, FL – Tomorrow Liberty Counsel will meet the Collier County, Florida, School Board in the Fort Myers federal courthouse. This lawsuit challenges the board’s recent ban on Bibles during Religious Freedom Day on school campuses in Collier County, Florida. For years, the school board allowed World Changers to provide free Bibles to interested students by placing them on tables where students could voluntarily pick one up during noninstructional time, but now the school officials claim that Bibles do not provide any educational benefit to the students and the distribution should stop. Liberty Counsel tried to convince the school board to correct its actions outside of court. But because of the school board’s defiant actions, there will be a preliminary injunction hearing at 10:00 a.m. EDT in Judge Charlene Honeywell’s chambers.

The Collier County School District policy specifically allows the distribution of literature by nonprofit organizations, but only with the approval of the superintendent and the Community Request Committee, whose members are appointed by the superintendent. Approval was denied to World Changers, despite the fact that its distribution included a disclaimer of any school endorsement or sponsorship and that receiving a Bible was purely voluntary. The district censored World Changers’ message simply because it included the Bible, while other private groups remain free to distribute their private literature. 

The school district suffers from a misunderstanding of the Establishment Clause, which does not prohibit private religious speech or literature. The distribution of Bibles by World Changers is private speech in a forum where other secular literature is allowed. As the Supreme Court has stated: “There is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect.”

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Liberty Counsel is committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of students. The policies and actions of the Collier County School District and its superintendent are unconstitutional. School officials cannot single out religious viewpoints for discriminatory treatment.”

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Roadside crosses for fallen Utah police unconstitutional, court rules

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 20, 2010

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that roadside crosses erected to memorialize fallen Utah Highway Patrol officers violate the First Amendment’s prohibition of government endorsement of religion.

The Denver-based 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the 12-foot-high crosses bearing the name and badge number of deceased officers sent an unconstitutional religious message to motorists on the state’s highways.

“We hold that these memorials have the impermissible effect of conveying to the reasonable observer the message that the state prefers or otherwise endorses a certain religion. They therefore violate the establishment clause of the federal constitution,” the appeals court said in a 35-page decision.

Proponents of strict separation between church and state immediately praised the decision.

“This is an important victory,” said David Niose, president of the American Humanist Association. “Governmental endorsement of Christianity, even in the form of an officer’s memorial, isn’t appropriate on our public highways.”

He added, “There are other ways to honor fallen officers, and the court’s recognition of this certainly strengthens secular government.”

13 crosses on Utah highways

Since 1998, two members of the Utah Highway Patrol Association have organized the placement of monuments on Utah roadsides to honor fallen troopers. Before erecting each memorial, the group consults the family of the fallen trooper about the potential of erecting a memorial in the form of a large cross. No family has objected to the cross or requested a different symbol.

Currently, 13 crosses are displayed along Utah highways. They include a photo of the fallen trooper, the year of death, and biographical information. They also display the insignia of the highway patrol.

American Atheists, Inc., objected to the crosses being displayed on public land and sued to have them removed.

A federal judge threw the lawsuit out. On Wednesday, the appeals court reversed that decision, agreeing with the atheist group that the crosses violate the separation of church and state.

Supporters of the cross memorials argued that they are no different than the crosses in military cemeteries or those used in other roadside memorials marking the site of traffic fatalities.

The appeals court judges disagreed. They said the critical issue was how the large white crosses on public land would be perceived by motorists and others. “We conclude that the cross memorials would convey to a reasonable observer that the state of Utah is endorsing Christianity,” they said. “The memorials use the preeminent symbol of Christianity.”

Qualms over crosses’ ‘massive size’

While most roadside memorials marking traffic fatalities are 12 to 16 inches high, the troopers’ crosses are 10 times that size, the court said. “The massive size of the crosses displayed on … public property unmistakably conveys a message of endorsement, proselytization, and aggrandizement of religion that is far different from the more humble spirit of small roadside crosses,” the court said.

The judges said they were also concerned that the memorials included the insignia of the Utah Highway Patrol. They said the combination of the cross and insignia links the state with a particular religious symbol. And that, they said, “may lead the reasonable observer to fear that Christians are likely to receive preferential treatment from the UHP – both in their hiring practices and, more generally, in the treatment that people may expect to receive on Utah’s highways.”

The judges added: “The reasonable observer’s fear of unequal treatment would likely be compounded by the fact that these memorials carry the same symbol that appears on UHP patrol vehicles.”

The decision notes that most residents of Utah were raised as or are followers of the Mormon religion, which does not view the cross as a religious symbol. The judges noted that “cross-revering Christians comprise approximately 18 percent of the population of Utah.”

But they went on to stress that the state could still violate the establishment clause by promoting the cross and the religious groups that do revere it.

Courtesy of http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/0818/Roadside-crosses-for-fallen-Utah-police-unconstitutional-court-rules

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Schools claim Lucifer as model and guardian

Posted by goodnessofgod2010 on August 20, 2010

While a California school district is seeing a boom in interest in a controversial educational philosophy that goes back more than 100 years, at the same time it’s fighting a lawsuit over whether the system is legal in public schools.

California’s capital city offers two Waldorf-inspired public schools — John Morse Waldorf Methods School (K-8), and the high school George Washington Carver School of Arts and Sciences. The Sacramento City Unified School District now is facing a trial in federal court on allegations that those schools are religious, making them ineligible to receive taxpayer dollars.
 
The lawsuit, filed in 1998 by the group People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools, is just now making it to trial after several appeals. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee, the president of PLANS uses phrases like “cult-like religious sect” and “new-age religion” to describe the activities at the schools.
 
Dr. Bruce Shortt, author of The Harsh Truth about Public Schools, explains to OneNewsNow that the Waldorf system is based on a dangerous philosophy called “anthroposophy” from the writings of 19th-century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.
 
“And in those writings he basically posits that the universe is driven by conflict between Lucifer and the god of darkness called ‘Ahriman’ — and his educational philosophy is built around that conflict,” says Shortt. “…In fact, in his view Christ came to earth as a ‘son god’ to balance the forces of light and darkness.”
 
The author says these views are reflected in The Waldorf Teachers Survival Guide.
 
“As a matter of fact, quoting from the guide, it says ‘most of what contributes to our work as teachers — preparation work, artistic work, even meditative work — is under the guardianship of Lucifer. We can become great teachers under his supervision….’  And it continues in that vein.”
 
Although the Waldorf system is primarily offered through private education, the demand for Waldorf public schools has grown to more than 40 across the country, including two dozen in California.

Courtesy of http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Default.aspx?id=1126896

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Questions and Answers with Author and Attorney Tim Rowe

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 13, 2010

1)      What motivated you to write The Magnificent Goodness of God? 

Our generation has lost faith in the goodness of God and His character. Without a right concept of God’s true nature and character, the foundation of Christian living crumbles, and the Church will fall into a downward spiral and lose its effective witness for Christ. We must know with great certainty what our God is like and His heart toward His beloved children. The goodness of God encompasses everything that God is, and is a perfect representation of all His characteristics.  There is not one stain in the moral character of God and not one sliver of evil. The origin of all sin is found in a mistrust of God’s character. If we don’t know who God is, we cannot trust Him and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We must not look at the world or our own experiences to define God. If we make this mistake, we can’t help but impugn God’s character. Satan tempted Eve on this very point by questioning God’s character. He does the same to us today. I want people to understand that God does not have a dark side; God is not two-faced; God is not good one day and evil the next. God does not have good days and bad days. God does not have any personality issues or character flaws. Understanding the goodness of God is first and foremost in spiritual warfare, because without this you can never stand for God faithfully.

2)      Why do you think the subject of God’s goodness is being lost in the modern day church?

I believe people have let their experiences, or culture, or religion define God rather than going to the Bible and letting God speak as to what His true nature is. We have become distracted often in many surface things and have failed to develop an intimate relationship with our God. I present a wonderful study guide of the Bible on the goodness of God, using over 30 translations of the Bible and 3000 verses to weave a tapestry of truth as to what the goodness of God is and how it can transform your life.  Eventually, something or someone will turn our heart from God if we do not understand His goodness that relentlessly pursues us all the days of our lives. Unfortunately, the church has too often had far more faith in the power of the enemy to defeat us than we do in the power of God to deliver us, change us, empower us, and demonstrate His mighty nature in and through us. Jesus Christ is the absolute pinnacle of the goodness of God and it is only through Him we begin to taste and see the magnificent goodness of God. It is time that there is an awakening of the goodness of God in the heart and soul of Christianity.

3)      You host a tv and radio show called “Faith and the Law.”  Is that an oxymoron?

God is vitally concerned about justice and the Bible sets forth laws that bring justice, liberty and balance to society.  Faith and the law are actually supposed to be intertwined and work together closely to allow an individual the absolute freedom to pursue life with God.  The law is to set boundaries so the sin nature does not run wild. God wants to set up laws that allow people to pursue and worship Him in complete freedom without interference from the government or civil authorities. As we look at the relationship of faith and the law, any law that diminishes, restricts, prohibits or destroys faith is not a just law and exactly opposite to the law’s true purpose. All laws should work together so faith flourishes. This is why religious liberty is so important. Religious liberty for Christians is under increased and relentless attack all over the world. Christians are being arrested for praying and preaching in public parks; they are being fired for wearing crosses to work; students are expelled for wearing t-shirts with a pro-scripture message and children have been accused of hate crimes for laying a Bible on their teacher desks. As amazing as it sounds, this is going on in the United States of America and it is important for Christians to stand up for their legal, constitutional rights and fight back against those who are trying to take away our freedom to exercise our religious beliefs.  The ACLU has tried to create a “faith-blind” secular society and laws, whose perverse effect is to rob all Americans of their religious diversity and uniqueness. The subtle message of the ACLU’s stance is that we can only be unified if we each agree to deny our commitments to our religious values (our faith) and agree to remain silent. We as Christians have stood silent for too long as the atheists and agnostics have controlled the legal system. As a result, many of our religious liberties are eroding at an alarming pace. This is often done through unjust rulings and laws by people and judges that have little understanding of the biblical principles present in the founding of our country and have given too much hype to the overused metaphor of  ‘separation of church and state’ that is not in our Constitution. This is the essence of why we feel faith and the law is such an important truth for Christians to understand so the gospel can have free movement in this country and reach the hearts of men, women and children without hindrance from unjust and unwise laws.

4)       Is the law becoming more and more hostile toward the Christian faith? Why or why not?

The American system of jurisprudence is still the best in the world even though it has some flaws and imperfections. It was founded upon a strong dedication to the God-given inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and a commitment to justice. The Bible and history provided a strong moral law and the law was not subject to the moods and minds of every single judge. The legal system has been moving toward secular humanism where man is glorified as the ultimate reason for everything and God is left out of the picture. Our legal system must have a driving moral principle behind it or it begins to crumble. God is just and God is good and there are moral principles of life set forth in the Bible that are the foundation of the Judeo-Christian system of law in the United States. So often, we have forsaken these values in the name of tolerance or in the name of intellectualism and we have become too “smart” for our own good. The law is becoming more and more hostile to Christianity around the globe. Atheists and Agnostics and God-haters have risen to the forefront of so much of our culture and they are pushing their godless agenda and want no resistance. The lamp of liberty is beginning to dim in America and we must rise up as Christians and begin to claim our legal rights like the Apostle Paul claimed his rights as a Roman citizen. The greatest threat to liberty in this country is not radical Islam but nominal Christianity. When teachers cannot even mention the word God without being prosecuted in Florida, when the theory of evolution is coddled and protected by the courts as scientific truth while creationism is thrust to the side, when a Christian college group cannot even require their voting members and officers to sign a statement of faith without losing their status as a college group at our universities, something is radically wrong. Our legal system has had a dramatic shift away from God and instead turns to the judges as ‘gods’ determining that the law is whatever they say it is and the Constitution is a changing document with the culture of the times. There is no longer a moral standard, just shifting beliefs. Christians need to wake up and become more firm in their total devotion to the Lord. I pray for this country every day, but I also have a moral responsibility as a citizen of the United States to speak out against the destruction of our Constitution and our rights as Christians. Religious liberty is the foundation of our country and should be guarded and guaranteed to every American. 

5)      What do you say to a family who has been faithful to God all their lives yet their child dies or is abducted?    

We are an intense spiritual warfare and there are evil things that happen every day in a very sinful, fallen world, but I don’t believe that scripture teaches God causes it or endorses it. We do not realize at times how many idols have been erected in our hearts that act as barriers to receiving the promises of God.  How much are we praying? How much are we in the Word? Do we watch television hours a day and never crack open the Bible and wonder why our lives our spiritually anemic? We must discipline ourselves to do the fundamentals of Christianity and always be alert in prayer for we have an enemy who comes as a thief in the night.  We pray too little, study the Bible too little, know very few promises of God, do not walk in wisdom and then blame God when things happen. Sometimes things happen because of a lack of wisdom.  God expects us to use our head. In regards to healing, there is great healing available in the cross of Christ and his finished work on the cross. But we do not always rise up to the standard of the Word and believe the promises. There is nothing wrong with going to the doctor and God has worked miracles through doctors and medicine. With Adam’s fall, the body has the curse of death on it and will eventually die. Often we don’t have health because we don’t walk in wisdom by eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, exercising, etc.  We expose our bodies and souls to other perils foolishly and then ask God to bail us out. God is a God of mercy, but the walk of health takes faith, wisdom and fervent prayer. God can deliver us from any attack of the wicked one, but Christians do have a target on their backs in spiritual warfare and we must learn to stand with the whole armor of God not just a portion of it.  There is also great healing in the Communion Ceremony, but very few Christians know the significance of the bread in Communion. Bread represents Jesus Christ’s body that was broken for our physical, mental and spiritual healing. The Corinthian church did not properly discern the Lord’s body and there were many sick, weak and dying in the church because they did not know the great healing in the communion ceremony. Understanding Communion will bring great healing to the church. The devil received the authority to exercise dominion upon the earth as the god of the age when Adam transferred to him as an act of high treason in the Garden.  He is responsible for all the evil in the world and it is a daily battle standing up to his attacks.  With the help of God, we can overcome and be more than conquerors in any situation in life. The Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8). His ministry was to heal those oppressed by Satan (Acts 10:38). Nowhere do the Gospels portray Jesus as healing those oppressed by God. Rather than God, it is Satan who is the source of evil. He is the one who has authority over all the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5 and 6), and it is Jesus’ job to crush his head (Gen. 3:15).

6)      Paul had a thorn that he claimed God would not take away.  So how does all that mesh with God’s goodness?

Paul’s thorn has been a “thorn in the flesh” for many Bible scholars. People have guessed a thousand things as to what it was–from sickness to eye problems –but the Scripture is very clear on the issue. The first thing we know is that it did not come from God as  II Corinthians 12:7 says it was a “messenger of Satan.” It came from Satan who is the great accuser of God’s people not from the God of all goodness. The word of God also says it was sent by Satan to buffet Paul  and the word buffet means “to strike blow after blow.”  When prior usages of the word “thorn” are worked in Scripture, it becomes obvious that the thorn in the flesh was people or human messengers that Satan sent to stop Paul and hinder Paul from sharing the gospel of Christ. The devil uses people who open their minds and hearts to him and controls them to do the kind of things that they did to Paul. At the same time, he works to arrange the circumstances in our lives so as to tempt us to respond according to our flesh (sin nature) rather than leaning on the spirit of God within us and allowing the Lord’s strength to be manifest in our lives. He can marshal people to hinder Christians and the movement of God’s Word. He has the authority to do that according to Scripture and it says when you live godly you will suffer persecution, but God has the ability to deliver us out of them ALL. But who did we rely on? Ourselves or God? His strength or ours? When we are under attack, it is only with God that can we be strong and by His grace overcome. This abundantly shows the goodness of God because even in the midst of the attack by the enemy, God is there to comfort, strengthen and pull us through. The goodness of God does not mean that you will never be under spiritual attack as a Christian. It is recognizing and embracing our weakness that drives us to our Savior, who will sustain and energize us to do His work.

 

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Atheists Advertise: Imagine No Religion, Sleep In on Sundays

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 12, 2010

A humanist group has launched another billboard blitz telling the public that it’s OK to sleep in on Sundays, among other things.

“Obviously, there are many reasons to reject religion, most of them intellectual,” said Dan Barker, FFRF co-president. “But face it – one of the immediate benefits of quitting church, besides getting a 10 percent raise because you can stop tithing, is getting to sleep in on Sundays! What the world really needs is a good night’s sleep.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation will have 20 billboards placed throughout the Tampa and St. Petersburg, Fla., area this month.

Four different ads are being featured, including “Sleep In On Sundays,” “Imagine No Religion,” “God & Government: A Dangerous Mix,” and “In Reason We Trust” – which is the group’s newest message.

Some of the messages are designed with a stained glass window motif.

“We want our billboards to be attractive, since our messages are controversial, and freethinkers like stained glass as much as the religious do,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, in a statement. “But we’d also like to create a little cognitive dissonance. Wouldn’t it be something if you saw this message, ‘Imagine No Religion’ or ‘Sleep in on Sundays,’ in a church?”

Incorporated in 1978, FFRF describes itself as an association of freethinkers, including atheists, agnostics and skeptics. The Madison, Wis.-based group claims more than 15,500 members nationwide.

Gaylor has pointed out that the nonreligious are the largest-growing segment of the population by religious identification in the United States. The popularly cited 2008 American Religious Identification Survey had revealed that the percentage of Americans claiming no religion jumped from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 15 percent.

Though many do not attend religious services, more than half (56 percent) of nonreligious Americans believe in God and 49 percent pray regularly, according to sociologist Bradley R. E. Wright.

Still, FFRF wants to send the message that not all Americans believe in God or follow a religion.

“If all people see is religion, it wins by default,” Gaylor said, as reported by the St. Petersburg Times.

FFRF began running billboard campaigns in October 2007 and has so far placed their messages in 25 states. This is the first time the group is advertising in Florida.

Editor’s note: God calls them fools in Psalms 14:1 who say there is no God. They are missing out on such an awesome opportunity for a relationship with their Creator. Their hearts will remain empty and chasing the wind for their entire lives without God.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100811/atheists-advertise-imagine-no-religion-sleep-in-on-sundays/index.html

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Federal Judge Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban in California

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 5, 2010

San Francisco (AP) – A person close to the case says a federal judge has overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights.
 
A copy of the ruling had not yet been publicly released.
 
Both sides previously said an appeal was certain if Walker did not rule in their favor. The case would go first to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then the Supreme Court if the high court justices agree to review it.

Courtesy of http://cnsnews.com/news/article/70546

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Kagan’s own notes blasted homeschoolers

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 4, 2010

© 2010 WorldNetDaily

June 30, 2010 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan begins her third day of the confirmation hearing process that will determine if she becomes the next Supreme Court Justice ..Capitol Hill - Washington DC. 06-30-2010. a, Inc. 2010.I15269CB. © Red Carpet Pictures

Elena Kagan, whose nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court likely will be before the full U.S. Senate for a vote soon, has suggested state regulations are “little” burden for homeschoolers, according to notes she made on a case while she was clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall.  

According to documentation uncovered by the Home School Legal Defense Association, Kagan advised Powell during the 1980s when a court case developed in Ohio in which a Christian family decided to homeschool their child.  

The parents were convicted of not getting the superintendent’s permission, and the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose justices refused to intervene.

The charges by the state were for “failing to send their child to school.”

“Throughout the litigation, [petitioners] have challenged the requirement of the Ohio statute that parents seek and receive the approval of the school board superintendent before embarking on a program of home education,” she wrote, citing the free exercise clause.

“This claim must fail,” Kagan wrote. “The [petitioners] here cannot complain that the state has required them to send their children to public [school]; they can only complain that the state has required them to apply for an exemption. … This burden on religious freedom is slight, and the interest of the state is great.

“I cannot see ruling that the statute is unconstitutional on this ground,” she said.

Likewise, the family’s statement that the requirement was unconstitutional because it didn’t have standards to govern a superintendent’s decision also doesn’t present a valid claim, she suggested.

“I don’t think that this claim is particularly strong,” she wrote.

HSLDA noted that during her Senate hearings, Kagan was asked about the decision.

According to a transcript, Kagan was asked about how she approved of a ruling that said religious organizations engage in “indoctrination” in their programs and admitted that was a mistake.

“I wrote more than 500 certiorari memos for Justice Marshall over the course of the term I clerked for him, more than two decades ago. I am sure that more than one was mistaken,” she said.

Then the question about the Ohio case was raised.

“What did you mean when you described the parents as having ‘little sympathy with the secular world?” she was asked.

But she evaded answering.

“I would have to read the parents’ petition to know precisely what I meant by this phrase,” she said. “The lower court decision indicates that the parents refused all contact with administrators of the public school system. As that decision noted, the parents believed ‘that their religious beliefs not only required them to educate’ their daughter, but also forbade them from seeking the school superintendent’s permission to do so.”

The HSLDA report said Kagan “went on to imply that the family’s expression of religion had not been infringed upon by the school district because the family was not being compelled to attend public school. She said that asking permission to homeschool was reasonable. The Schmidt family objected to asking for permission to homeschool because of their religious beliefs.”

“During Ms. Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Jeff Sessions asked Ms. Kagan what she meant in her memo. Kagan didn’t back away from her memo,” the report said.

The report said HSLDA was encouraging its constituents to contact their senators and express opposition to the nomination.

Only days earlier, a public interest organization announced plans to file an ethics complaint to have Kagan disbarred from practicing before the Supreme Court.

Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch USA, announced plans for the complaint, alleging Kagan altered an official scientific report used as evidence by the Supreme Court to persuade the justices to overturn bans on partial-birth abortion.

As WND reported, dozens of pro-life organizations are already asking the Senate to investigate Kagan’s 1997 amendment to an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists report, which was then used by the Supreme Court as justification for overturning Nebraska’s partial-birth abortion ban in 2000.

In her confirmation hearings, Kagan defended the amendment, saying, “My only dealings with (the College) were about talking with them about how to ensure that their statement expressed their views.”

Several analyses have concluded, however, that Kagan’s amendment dramatically changed the meaning of the organization statement, and court records show the statement was passed on to the Supreme Court as official scientific opinion, even though the organization’s panel of scientists never approved Kagan’s wording.

Klayman told WND he believes Kagan’s behind-the-scenes work constitutes “conspiracy to defraud the Supreme Court,” and he intends to take the evidence that has been compiled by the pro-life groups to file a complaint before the clerk’s office of the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to have Kagan disbarred as a practicing lawyer in front of the Supreme Court. .

Working to stop Kagan’s nomination

While the pro-life groups are petitioning U.S. senators to investigate Kagan’s amendment and Klayman is turning to the Department of Justice, other organizations are drafting efforts to pressure the Senate into rejecting Kagan’s nomination outright.

Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, is offering constituents a “take action” option on his website, while a “Stop Kagan Campaign” also is under way.

“We will continue to put every member on notice – Republicans and Democrats – that a vote for Kagan is a vote against the U.S. military, a vote against the Constitution, a vote against free speech and a vote for ultra-partisan extremism and activism on the bench,” said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND who is orchestrating the “Stop Kagan” effort that has generated tens of thousands of individual letters to senators.

The “Stop Kagan Campaign” allows any American citizen to generate 100 individually addressed letters to every U.S. senator, each including the name of the sender and all delivered by FedEx for the low price of just $24.95.

According to Farah, Kagan disqualified herself from serving on the Supreme Court with her statement under oath that she has no view of “natural rights.”

“In all my years of observing Washington, I don’t think I’ve ever been more stunned and disappointed by the testimony of a Supreme Court nominee than I was with Elena Kagan,” said Farah. “This is someone, who, from her own testimony, doesn’t believe in the Declaration of Independence, which we just celebrated and commemorated for the 234th time in our nation’s history. This is someone who claims she doesn’t have a view about ‘natural rights’ – those that real Americans believe are unalienable and God-given.”

Farah is asking all of his constituents to join his “Stop Kagan Campaign”, which delivers personalized, individually addressed, anti-Kagan letters to all 100 U.S. senators by FedEx for only $24.95.

The statements by Kagan came in an exchange with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. Farah said most of the press failed to cover her responses, which he deemed as newsworthy as any she made during the hearings:

Coburn: Do you believe it is a fundamental, pre-existing right to have an arm to defend yourself?

Kagan: Senator Coburn, I very much appreciate how deeply important the right to bear arms is to millions and millions of Americans. And I accept Heller, which made clear that the Second Amendment conferred that right upon individuals, and not simply collectively.

Coburn: I’m asking you, Elena Kagan, do you personally believe there is a fundamental right in this area? Do you agree with Blackstone [in] the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense? He didn’t say that was a constitutional right. He said that’s a natural right. And what I’m asking you is, do you agree with that?

Kagan: Senator Coburn, to be honest with you, I don’t have a view of what are natural rights, independent of the Constitution. And my job as a justice will be to enforce and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

Coburn: So you wouldn’t embrace what the Declaration of Independence says, that we have certain God-given, inalienable rights that aren’t given in the Constitution that are ours, ours alone, and that a government doesn’t give those to us?

Kagan: Senator Coburn, I believe that the Constitution is an extraordinary document, and I’m not saying I do not believe that there are rights pre-existing the Constitution and the laws. But my job as a justice is to enforce the Constitution and the laws.

Coburn: Well, I understand that. I’m not talking about as a justice. I’m talking about Elena Kagan. What do you believe? Are there inalienable rights for us? Do you believe that?

Kagan: Senator Coburn, I think that the question of what I believe as to what people’s rights are outside the Constitution and the laws, that you should not want me to act in any way on the basis of such a belief.

Coburn: I would want you to always act on the basis of the belief of what our Declaration of Independence says.

Kagan: I think you should want me to act on the basis of law. And that is what I have upheld to do, if I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed, is to act on the basis of law, which is the Constitution and the statutes of the United States.

“This woman apparently thinks our rights descend from our Constitution, which is crazy,” said Farah. “The Constitution is there to protect our unalienable, God-given human rights – not to define our rights or to invent them.”

The campaign to deny Kagan confirmation in the Senate, however, began long before the hearings.

“This woman, as president of her university, banned the U.S. military from recruiting on campus,” Farah reminds. “Just contemplate rewarding that kind of vehemently anti-American action with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan must be stopped.”

He devised the “Stop Kagan Campaign” based on previous successes in generating heavy volumes of mail to members of Congress.

“It’s a phenomenal bargain,” says Farah. “It makes it easy for you to sound off on this historically bad nomination. It’s a small investment. And I am convinced that if enough Americans take advantage of it, Kagan will be stopped – even by this Senate.”

But time is short, Farah says. America is distracted by a floundering economy, a disastrous oil spill and a government that creates new crises on a daily basis, he explains.

Calling Kagan “an activist who wants to govern from the bench,” Farah says there’s a way to give senators a “spine transplant” and prepare them for the most contentious confirmation fight since Clarence Thomas.

“Kagan is a radical antimilitary and proabortion zealot,” said Farah. “This selection by Barack Obama reveals once again his extremist agenda of leaving America undefended, elevating alternative lifestyles to sainthood and exterminating the most innocent human life with reckless abandon and persecuting anyone who tried to stand in the way. In a nutshell, that’s who Elena Kagan is.”

Farah’s goal is to inundate senators with 100,000 letters calling for her rejection for a lifelong appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The letter campaign is based on previously successful efforts in which nearly 10 million “pink slips” were delivered to members of Congress opposing nationalization of health care, cap-and-trade legislation, hate-crimes laws and other bills, as well as the current campaign to stop amnesty in the U.S. Senate.

The letter to the senators reads:

“In a few months, the American people will have a chance to speak at the polls again. Almost every analyst and every public-opinion survey suggests the electorate is angry about the direction of the country. I strongly urge you not to show contempt for the will of the people and the Constitution by confirming the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan.

“Kagan is not what Americans want and she is not what the country needs.

“At a time when federal central control is strangling the American economy, she calls for more regulatory authority not just in Washington, but for the president himself.

“At a time when American security is facing internal and external threats and our nation is still engaged in two foreign wars simultaneously, she advocates banning military recruitment on campuses because of her compulsion to see open homosexual behavior flaunted in the ranks.

“At a time when Americans have been stripped of their ability to write their own laws protecting the lives of the unborn, she advocates the creation of task forces to investigate and prosecute peaceful pro-life activities.

“At a time when Americans are recognizing the unique blessings of their Constitution, she advocates the consideration of foreign laws in shaping Supreme Court rulings.

“For all of these reasons and more we will surely learn about in the days ahead, please reject the nomination of Elena Kagan.”

As part of that work, Kagan reviewed the arguments for Marshall and suggested an outcome. 

“[Petitioners] are self-described born-again Christians who adhere to a literal interpretation of the Bible and have little sympathy with the secular world,” she wrote.

Courtesy of http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=187133

Posted in Attack on Christianity, Faith Issues in Our Times, Hot Legal News, Religious Freedom | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A new age of religious discrimination

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 4, 2010

By John H. Calvert
© 2010 

During our early history, religious discrimination was rampant among the 13 colonies. Except for ecumenical Pennsylvania, most of the colonies established “state” religions. Massachusetts was ruled by Congregationalists who drove Roger Williams into Rhode Island. Catholics fled England due to persecution by its Anglican state church. After they got settled in Maryland, they were once again treated as outsiders when that colony established the very same Anglican Church as its official religion.

Due to the different state religions the colonies put a provision in the new Constitution to make sure the federal government would be religiously neutral. The Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment forbid Congress from passing “any law respecting an establishment of religion, or abridging the free exercise thereof.”

After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was adopted to end race discrimination. It was subsequently interpreted by the Supreme Court to outlaw religious discrimination by making the First Amendment applicable to the states.

By 1971, the Supreme Court had concluded that federal, state and local “government activities [that] touch on the religious sphere … must be secular in purpose, evenhanded in operation, and neutral in primary impact.” [Gillette v. U.S. (1971)]

These provisions have been effective in ending governmental preference for Christians over Jews and Catholics over Protestants. However, their misuse has generated a virulent new form of religious discrimination that is fundamentally changing the U.S. into a non-theistic socialist culture – one that denies that life is the gift of a creative God.

The new wave of governmental discrimination favors non-theistic religions like Religious/Secular Humanism and Atheism over Christianity and other traditional theistic religions.

Religious Humanism was proclaimed a religion in 1933 by John Dewey and others in the Humanist Manifesto. It denies God or the supernatural, claims the universe is self-existing and that life has just arisen through unguided evolutionary processes. As life is an occurrence rather than a creation, these materialistic non-theists believe it ends on death and has no inherent purpose. Their credo holds that humans should find purpose for their lives through reason and naturalistic science, not from the “wisdom” of a mythical and non-existent God.

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Religious Humanists seeks to replace traditional theistic religions in all institutions, including public schools. After the Supreme Court ruled in 1949 that religion could not be taught in public schools, many of its leaders changed the “religious” modifier to “secular,” in an effort to remove the “new” religion from an unfavorable religious classification. Thus, Religious Humanism became “Secular” Humanism. However, the change of labels has not changed the minds of the Supreme Court and other federal courts that have found “Secular” Humanism to be a religion.

The courts have found a variety of non-theistic belief systems to be religions, because they address matters of “ultimate concern” that function in the lives of their adherents in the same manner as traditional theistic belief systems function in the lives of traditional theists.

Matters of “ultimate concern” are not clearly defined. However, the cases recognize that they include core questions like the cause of life (Where do we come from?), and the nature of life (Are we creations made for a purpose or just occurrences lacking purpose that end on death?). Answers to these foundational questions then generate other religious tenets regarding morality (right and wrong) and the purpose of life (What is the goal of life, if any, and how should it be lived?)

Religious/”Secular” Humanism is an organized religion that welcomes atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, pantheists, Deists and a variety of other liberal theistic and non-theistic religious worldviews. In the U.S. it is worshiped in a variety of “churches,” including particularly Universal Unitarian Churches. It preaches a morality and set of ethics far different from that found in the Bible, the Torah and the Quran.

Although the number of its recognized members may be small, Religious/”Secular” Humanism is extraordinarily influential. It dominates institutions of science, education and much of the “mainstream” media. Its adherents have infiltrated mainstream Christian denominations and are causing them to change their tenets and morality to embrace modern evolutionary theory, sexual promiscuity and other concepts antagonistic to individual and family values historically shown to be so important to a strong, healthy and vibrant culture.

The membership of this stealth religion is growing exponentially as its tenets have been systematically embedded and promoted in public schools across the nation. This is reflected in polls that show significant increases in non-theistic beliefs in the 15-29 age group.

So, one asks, “Why?” How can government promote non-theistic religions and get away with it?

The strategy is actually pretty simple. The new religious discrimination is effected through governmental use of a popular but discriminatory definition of religion. The popular definition confines “religion” to just belief in God. This excludes Atheism and “Secular” Humanism from the religious classification. Since they are not classified as “religion” they wind up in a “secular” class. Anything that is not religious is by default “secular.” This is because “secular” means not religious.

Since public schools can promote the secular but not the religious, it’s a slam-dunk. Secular Humanists and Atheists go into the public schools demanding the exclusion of “religion” (defined as just belief in God) and any of its religious teachings such as those found in the Bible. Once God and His wisdom have been excluded, it’s pretty simple to fill the vacuum with the tenets of the new stealth religion now dressed in the garb of secular health, science, history and social studies.

But is it legal? No. Generally, the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, the IRS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have moved in the last 60 years to define First Amendment religion broadly to include non-theistic religions. Secular Humanism, Atheism, Transcendental Meditation (like that practiced by Buddhists), Wicca, Scientology and the like have all been held to be religions. Hence, government may not legally endorse or prefer Atheism and Religious/”Secular” Humanism over traditional Theism.

If that is so, then how is it that Atheists are so successful in fooling us into accepting their key assumption that religion is confined to the theistic?

There are many reasons. However, I believe a key reason may be habit. For the first 300 years of our culture, religion was always linked with God, as nearly everyone was a Theist. Although the courts have adjusted to major changes in the religious mix over the last 60 years, our culture has not. We still incorrectly think of “religion” narrowly as just belief in God. In the process, our narrow view of religion has actually encouraged the new wave of religious discrimination.

Thus, by using a commonly accepted but illegal definition of religion, nontheists have successfully prevailed upon government to replace theistic views with non-theistic views about ultimate questions, such as the cause, nature and purpose of life.

The “Freedom From Religion Foundation” illustrates the strategy. It does not actually seek freedom from all religion. It seeks freedom from only Theistic religion, so that the State can promote exclusively the non-theistic varieties. Its name is a deception masking a hidden religious agenda.

When we agree with the Atheist that religion is confined to God, we give him the key to our public schools, to science, to our universities, the media and even our legislative and political venues.

We are entitled to be free from this new wave of religious discrimination. But we will achieve that freedom only by requiring government to use the inclusive non-discriminatory definition of religion in its application of the First Amendment. Until we object to government favoring non-theistic religions, it will continue to vigorously discriminate against theistic varieties, particularly Christianity.

If the discrimination continues, the religious agenda of the Atheist to remove God from our money, the Pledge and from sight and mind will eventually be realized. The country will be called a “secular” nation, when in fact it will be as religious as Iran. Instead of a government neutral as to religion, it will be one that commands adherence to its religious view as to how lives should be lived.

Courtesy of  http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=187173


John H. Calvert, J.D., is the Author of “Kitzmiller’s Error: Using and Exclusive rather than Inclusive Definition of Religion, Liberty University Law Review” (Spring 2009). A summary of that 115-page article is available online.

Posted in Attack on Christianity, Religious Freedom | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Over 200 Physicians Protest Abortions at Military Hospitals

Posted by faithandthelaw on August 4, 2010

Over 200 physicians who served soldiers in the U.S. military are asking senators to resist efforts to allow abortions at military hospitals.

“Such a drastic and controversial change in longstanding federal policy could disrupt military medicine in a time of war and also undermine military physician retention and recruitment,” they stated in a letter sent Tuesday by the Christian Medical Association.

In May, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a provision that would repeal the ban on privately financed abortions at military hospitals and bases. The amendment was included in the proposed 2011 Defense Authorization bill.

It was sponsored by Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) who said the current ban prevents women “from exercising their legally-protected right to choose simply because they are stationed overseas.”

A similar amendment failed in 2006.

Gene Rudd, senior vice president of the Christian Medical Association, argued that the morale among those serving would suffer if the ban is lifted.

“Morale is a key component of military effectiveness,” he said in a statement. “If enacted, requiring military physicians to perform abortions threatens military readiness.”

Rudd contended that approving the amendment would also discourage young doctors from joining the military.

“In addition to facilitating further destruction of unborn life, the provision will place military physicians with life-honoring convictions in the unenviable position of either disobeying orders, abandoning their conscience, or seeking objector status,” he pointed out.

And a reduced number of physicians would reduce patient access, the physicians stated in their letter to senators.

“Reducing physicians and patient access during two wars and at a time of a growing and severe national shortage of physicians – especially in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology and family medicine – is hardly wise policy, regardless of one’s views on abortion,” they contended.

The physicians protesting the proposed amendment cited a Freedom2Care poll that reveals that 95 percent of faith-based physicians will leave medicine if pressured to compromise their life-affirming ethical commitments.

“So we urge you to vote NO on the defense authorization bill unless Senator Roland Burris’ amendment to strike Section 1093(b) of Title 10 of the US Code is removed.”

Since 1996, abortions have been prohibited by Department of Defense medical personnel or in DoD medical facilities, except when the life of the mother is at risk or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

CMA Director of Global Health Outreach Col. Donald Thompson, who recently retired from the Air Force, believes that approving the provision will drive out of the military those most likely to serve.

“Our military exists to fight our nation’s wars, not to be [an] ideological playground,” he asserted.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100803/over-200-physicians-protest-abortions-at-military-hospitals/index.html

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