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Archive for October, 2010

National Day of Prayer Proclamation Upheld in Colorado

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 30, 2010

A Denver federal court on Thursday upheld a Colorado proclamation recognizing the National Day of Prayer as a lawful expression of an individual’s right to practice religion.

Judge R. Michael Mullins dismissed a lawsuit asserting that Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, violated the state constitution by issuing a state proclamation recognizing the National Day of Prayer, which is observed every year on the first Thursday of May.

Colorado Attorney General John Sutters praised the judge’s ruling in a statement saying, “I was pleased to see the judge’s well reasoned and persuasive order upholding this commonplace practice.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the lawsuit in support of the separation of church and state. “I think this judge is very, very wrong,” said FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. In the lawsuit, the Wisconsin-based skeptic group claimed that Ritter’s proclamation violated the Religious Freedom clause of the Colorado Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

The clause reads, “No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship, religious sect or denomination against his consent. Nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.”

Judge Mullins concluded that the proclamation does not carry the force of law and therefore is not mandating prayer.

The clause also reads, “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever hereafter be guaranteed; and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his opinions concerning religion.”

Mullins said that the proclamation simply asserts an individual’s right to practice religion.

The FFRF may appeal the ruling, Gaylor said. She cited a court decision earlier this year where U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb denounced the National Day of Prayer as an unconstitutional call to religious action. The lawsuit in that case was also filed by FFRF.

The National Day of Prayer’s heritage extends back to the formation of United States. In the 1775, the Continental Congress called on the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming the new nation. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called for a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer.” In 1952 president Harry Truman declared an annual national day of prayer. The law was amended in the 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to permanently establish the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of May.

In May, the Colorado National Day of Prayer committee encouraged prayers for reduced state crime, decreased state divorce rate, a zero suicide rate, decreased abortions and healing from physical, spiritual and emotional oppression.

Shirley Dobson is the chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer task force. Dobson encourages visitors of its website to support the day of prayer. “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom too.”

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U.S. District Court: Michigan Student Can Hand Out Church Flyers

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 29, 2010

An elementary school student in Michigan can distribute invitations to church activities to classmates, a federal court ruled Tuesday.

Judge Gerald E. Rosen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan concluded that the school infringed on the student’s First Amendment right to free speech when it denied him the opportunity to pass out the invitations and flyers.

Applauding the ruling, Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel David Cortman commented, “Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against and silenced because of their beliefs. The court made the right decision by acknowledging students’ and community groups’ free speech rights and ruling that the district’s viewpoint-based ban on the distribution of literature with a religious theme is unconstitutional.”

The student, identified as J.S., and his mother, Katharine Smith, filed suit in 2009 against Holly Area Schools after he tried to distribute invitations to a youth summer camp held at Cornerstone Church in Highland, Mich.

A second grade student at the time, J.S. placed some of the invitations in cubbyholes, which are receptacles for distributing materials to each student.

Upon learning of this, his teacher and then his principal banned the student from handing out religious materials on school grounds.

Katharine Smith went to the district superintendent who also said affirmed the ban on religious materials.

After the suit was filed, the Patterson Elementary School principal sent a letter home with each student in February of this year advising parents that outside groups and individuals were no longer permitted to submit materials to the school for distribution to students.

Judge Rosen wrote in his opinion that “such a blanket prohibition upon a student’s distribution of materials on the basis of religious viewpoint is not constitutionally permissible.”

“The school district cannot reasonably be viewed as having imposed time, place, or manner restrictions upon J.S.’s distribution of these materials; instead, it has flatly forbidden him from giving such materials to his classmates anywhere on school grounds at any time during the school day.”

The judge ordered the school district to stop enforcing its ban against students handing out flyers and further ruled that the district could not deny the mother’s request to send flyers home with students “on the sole ground that she seeks to distribute materials promoting religious activities” while permitting other community groups to distribute flyers advertising their events.

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Employees Fired and Evicted For Being “Too Religious” Should Get Day in Court

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 29, 2010

Atlanta, GA – Today Liberty Counsel will present oral arguments at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting that a trial court’s summary judgment be reversed in an employment and housing discrimination case. Daniel and Sharon Dixon were fired by The Hallmark Companies from managing an apartment complex and evicted from their apartment for being “too religious,” because they displayed, in the rental office, stained glass artwork with flowers and the phrase “Consider the lilies… Matthew 6:28.”

LiliesAfter a number of office visits, one day their supervisor asked if the artwork referred to Scripture. When Mrs. Dixon confirmed that it did, the supervisor asked her to remove it immediately. Mrs. Dixon indicated that she would bring her husband, a co-manager, into the discussion and left briefly to find him. When the Dixons returned minutes later, their supervisor had removed the artwork and told them not to bother looking for it because they were fired for being “too religious.” They were ordered to vacate their apartment within seventy-two hours.

The Dixons filed a federal action charging Hallmark with religious discrimination, but a federal district court judge ruled summarily against them, concluding incredibly that no reasonable jury could find that Hallmark discriminated against the Dixons. The court should have allowed a jury to hear the case and determine whether the Dixons were fired and evicted because of their religious beliefs.

Today, Horatio Mihet, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, will present oral arguments at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Atlanta, Georgia. Title VII and Title VIII prohibit discrimination in employment and housing on account of religion. The removal of the picture by the supervisor was symptomatic of the bigger issue, namely that the Dixons were fired because of their religion. A ruling by the court is expected later this year.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Hallmark cannot sweep religion from the workplace. While The Hallmark Companies can chose the décor of the workplace, their supervisors cannot fire employees solely because they are ‘too religious.’ When a jury hears this case, it will be clear that The Hallmark Companies crossed the line.”

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Group Asks IRS to Probe Christian Voter Guides

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 28, 2010

(Photo: AP Images / Julie Jacobson)
A voter returns voting machine activation card after casting his ballot at an early voting polling place Monday
A group dedicated to promoting ethics in government and public life has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether voter guides distributed by a Christian nonprofit violate federal tax code.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) submitted the request Tuesday, accusing The Pray in Jesus Name Project of passing out overtly partisan guides that rate politicians as faith-friendly or anti-Jesus.

“Federal law prohibits preachers from politicking from the pulpit, but that is exactly what Pray in Jesus Name Project is asking clergy across the country to do,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan in a statement. “Pray in Jesus Name is attempting to use churches to advance its overt political agenda; any churches that go along with this plan and distribute the guides will risk their own tax status in the process.”

The Pray in Jesus Name Project has made available “Shock and Awe” voter guides for Christians that report how Senate and Congressional incumbents voted on certain issues – namely on abortion, free speech, health care and homosexuality issues. The group makes it clear on its website that “non-partisan voter guides that simply report how Congress voted are fully authorized by the IRS for distribution in churches.”

Christians are being encouraged to help fax the voter guides to 125,000 pastors in all 50 states ahead of the Nov. 2 elections.

Backing the project, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel maintains that outside of express endorsement of or opposition to candidates for political offices, pastors and churches may engage in many other permissible activities.

CREW, however, contends that the voter guides and legislative scorecards “appear to contain clear partisan commentary” and “while there are no votes to rank the candidates, it is clear through the ‘faith friendly’ designation which candidate is supported.”

“The guides narrowly focus on a few select issues, including public prayers, abortion, and legislative issues affecting the rights of gay citizens,” CREW wrote in its letter to the IRS. “Incumbents’ votes on these narrow issues are further characterized with biased labels such as ‘Pro-Abortion,’ ‘Pro-Homosexual,’ ‘Anti-Jesus,’ and ‘Anti-Free Speech.'”

CREW has requested that the IRS take action against any church that distributes the guides.

“The IRS should investigate whether Pray in Jesus Name is violating its own tax status and warn churches that by distributing the voter guides created [by]this group, they are jeopardizing their own 501(c)(3) status,” said Sloan. “Just as ‘a rose by any other name is still a rose,’ political campaign intervention called voter guides is still political campaign intervention.”

The probe request comes weeks after dozens of pastors around the country defied the 1954 IRS rule – preventing organizations with tax exemption from participating in a political campaign – and endorsed political candidates from the pulpit on Sunday. Pulpit Freedom Sunday was organized by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal firm, which believes pastors have a right to use the Bible’s teachings to speak on the positions of electoral candidates or current government officials.

The event was intended to get the government out of the pulpit moreso than get politics into the pulpit.

“Pastors and churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government – in this case, the IRS,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about.”

Meanwhile, The Pray in Jesus Name Project maintains that its voter guides neither endorse nor oppose any candidate for office.

With the aim of “[taking] back Congress” and “[getting] out the church vote” the group states on its website: “If we simply tell the pastors without bias how Harry Reid’s Senate voted to confirm the Anti-Jesus Judge David Hamilton, how will Christian people vote? If we simply report the non-partisan voting record of Nancy Pelosi’s Congress, who voted to pay for abortions with our tax-dollars in Obamacare ‘health’ bill, how will Christian people vote?

“Pastors, we must not fear the government. It is time for the government to fear the Church of Jesus Christ.”

The Pray in Jesus Name Project was started by Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, an Air Force Academy graduate and former U.S. Navy chaplain who has stood for the rights of military chaplains to pray publicly in Jesus’ name.

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Fed-up Americans: Fire the judges, too!

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 27, 2010

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Marsha Ternus

Judicial elections across the United States, largely ho-hum affairs that only stand out when members of the black robes commit a crime, have turned white-hot in Iowa, where residents are organizing and campaigning to fire three of the state Supreme Court members who created same-sex marriage for the state.

Supporters of the judges – Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit – are countering with arguments that Iowans who want the three removed from office have abandoned the rule of law and become “the mob.”

But former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from office himself when state officials refused to allow him to challenge an order he considered illegal, said the judges in Iowa didn’t even follow their own state law – which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Instead, Moore said, they joined advocates for homosexuality in calling such couples “similarly situated” to traditionally married couples.

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That view is accurate, said Moore, who runs the Foundation for Moral Law, only if one cannot tell the difference between a man and a woman.

The justices’ stance, he suggested, is why polls show they could be ejected from their highly paid positions of influence, even though they usually are the benefactors of approval from 80 percent or 90 percent of the voters.

Several polls show that support for the three is running only percentage points above the portion of the citizenry already committed to voting them out. Several polls suggested the small percentage of undecideds probably ultimately will be the deciding factor.

In Iowa, the Supreme Court created same-sex “marriage” in a lawsuit brought by homosexual couples, determining that they had the same “right” to marry as traditional married couples.

Members of the Iowa Supreme Court who unanimously adopted same-sex ‘marriage’ for the state

But Moore noted that Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act specified one man and one woman marriages, so the justices actually were violating the law they were sworn to uphold. Moore noted that the original Iowa Constitution forbade “sodomy.”

The surge of condemnation for the three justices – the only ones from the high court on the ballot this year – sends “a signal all across the nation,” Moore said.

“People are tired of activist judges who rule not according to their own constitution and laws of their state,” he said. “If they are removed, it will stop this judicial activism.”

He quoted from the Iowa court’s own opinion that it could “protect constitutional rights … even when the rights have not yet been broadly accepted or at one time [were] unimagined.”

“What they are saying is that they can give rights to individuals that were at one time unimagined. If that’s not judicial activism…” he said. “What’s to stop them from letting men marry their own daughters. Brothers marry sisters. A whole village becoming a marriage.”

Former GOP candidate for governor Bob Vander Plaats, a spokesman for a grassroots group trying to oust the three judges, said the Iowa For Freedom campaign was launched because the decision simply was wrong.

“On April 3, 2009, this court did what it cannot do and God help this country and this state if we allow them to do it,” he told the Cedar Falls Courier.

A Des Moines Register poll found 40 percent of voters plan to vote to remove all three judges, and 44 percent will try to keep them, leaving the outcome a virtual tossup.

According to the Iowa Independent, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has concluded that voters really have no choice but to reject the judges.

“Iowa law says that marriage is only between ‘a male and a female,'” King said. “No judge can be allowed to remain on the bench who would turn thousands of years of law and human history on its head by discovering rights that ‘were at one time unimagined’ in our Constitution,” he told the newspaper.

Officials with the state Supreme Court declined to respond to WND requests for comment. Nor did Ternus respond to a message left by WND with her personal office staff.

A Des Moines newspaper report affirmed that the results will ripple beyond the edges of Iowa’s borders.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington told the newspaper in an interview, “What you see happening here is a precedent being set, and other states will feel comfortable following it.”

It was, according to the Sioux City Journal, former Iowa Supreme Court judge Mark McCormick who called those who oppose same-sex “marriage” and the imposition of that status by a court “the mob.”

He told the newspaper, “But the campaign here is one that is an effort to try to intimidate judges, not just in Iowa, but everywhere; not to carry out their constitutional responsibilities but to defer to the mob or to what is perceived to be a majority view and not to make an unpopular decision. But we depend on our courts to make unpopular decisions. They protect us. Courts exist to protect individual rights. They do not exist necessarily to protect the interest of the majority from time to time.”

To which Vander Plaats suggested of his fellow Iowans, “This isn’t about the mob, this is about we, the people.”

No Iowa Supreme Court justice has been removed from the bench by a vote of the people in nearly 50 years. But when voters have been given the chance to define marriage in their own states, 30 times out of 30 they’ve chosen to define it as being between a man and a woman, only.

A similar fight also is going on in California. There a homosexual federal judge who ruled that gender “no longer forms an essential part of marriage” struck down the state’s voter-approved Proposition 8 constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman only.

The issue now is before an appellate court.

Judge Vaughn Walker, who a short time after his decision announced he was quitting the bench, said:

Proposition 8 was passed by voters in 2008. In his Aug. 4 decision, Walker declared it violates the rights of homosexuals under the federal Constitution.

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 04: Members of the group The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence attend a rally to celebrate the ruling to overturn Proposition 8 August 4, 2010 in San Francisco, California. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker announced his ruling to overturn Proposition 8 finding it unconstitutional. The voter approved measure denies same-sex couples the right to marry in the State of California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Walker’s decision had disregarded the terse warning contained in California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter’s dissenting opinion in a 2008 case on same-sex “marriage.” That case saw same-sex “marriage” imposed by judicial fiat on the state, a result that was reversed by the Prop 8 vote.

Baxter had warned of the “legal jujitsu” required to establish same-sex “marriage” by court order.

“The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy,” Baxter warned in his dissent. “Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.

“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?” Baxter wrote.

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What the Founders knew: Faith enhances freedom

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 26, 2010

Susan Klobe, right, and her husband, Wayne Klobe, of Ferguson, Mo., attend a Tea Party rally in St. Louis last month.
By Thomas S. Kidd

The Tea Party movement seems conflicted about religion. Prominent Tea Partiers, including Glenn Beck, have steered away from the usual priorities of Christian conservatives: restrictions on abortion, gay marriage, and the like. But in other ways, we see evidence of religion’s importance to the Tea Party: Beck’s summer rally in Washington, D.C., focused almost exclusively on a return to America’s heritage of faith, and a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute suggested that Christian conservatives represent the core of the Tea Party.

This identity crisis reflects a deeper question about religion’s role in public life: Does faith restrict or enhance our freedom? Some might believe that the Tea Party’s emphasis on liberty over moral restrictions represents a repudiation of the traditional agenda of the Religious Right. But instead, the Tea Party may actually represent a return of religious conservatism to its origins in Revolutionary America, when the Founding Fathers universally paired religion and freedom.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the brilliant French writer who toured America in the 1830s in preparation for his magnum opus, Democracy in America, was struck by the difference between American and French notions of freedom. The American Patriots viewed religion as essential to freedom, while French radicals saw religion as freedom’s enemy. Yet the French Revolution descended into massive bloodletting, and concluded with military rule under Napoleon, while the Americans successfully created and sustained a republic without horrific violence (until the Civil War, of course). Tocqueville believed that Americans’ friendliness to religion made all the difference, for faith kept the worst excesses of liberty in check. In America, Tocqueville wrote, “freedom sees religion as its companion.”

An adhesive force

The Founding Fathers considered faith and freedom as companions in several senses. First, they believed that religion seasoned freedom with compassion for one’s fellow man. Absolute freedom would lead people into moral chaos. Founders such as James Madison and George Washington knew that people were naturally inclined to oppress their neighbor, because of what Washington called the “love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart.” To Washington, the health — and liberty — of the republic depended on religion, which had a unique power to inculcate moral responsibility.

The Founders believed, secondly, that a respect for religious freedom and religious strength was one of the primary bases for American unity. Even Thomas Jefferson, personally skeptical about Christianity, saw faith as an adhesive force among the broad diversity of Americans. The Patriots had severed their historic connection to England, and the American government was far too small to create a sense of national commonality on its own. Where was a basis for their new civil society? Faith offered a solution.

Jefferson’s first inaugural address in 1801 extolled Americans’ “benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter — with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?” Despite his own doubts about Christianity, Jefferson showed charity toward people of different faiths in his staunch defense of religious freedom, a cause in which he found his primary allies among evangelical Christians, especially Baptists, who bitterly remembered their pre-war persecution by several of the colonial governments.

Where God comes in

Finally, the Founders saw God as the basis for Americans’ right to freedom, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights. Again, Jefferson the skeptic was not making some specifically Christian claim about freedom, but merely stating the widely assumed theological truth that our fundamental right to freedom and equality was based on our common creation by God.

The original Tea Partier, Samuel Adams, the organizer of the crowd that infamously dumped hundreds of chests of British tea into Boston harbor in 1773, took as strong a view of the connection between religion and liberty as any of the Patriots. Religion fueled virtue, Adams wrote, and “the public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals.”

The religious conservatives of the Tea Party surely have not abandoned their traditional emphasis on the way that morality should limit freedom. The culture wars are hardly dead. But if, in this election cycle, they highlight liberty’s roots in religion, the Tea Partiers may help us recall Tocqueville’s older notion that freedom and faith are companions.

Thomas S. Kidd is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He is the author of God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution.

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Indiana legislators want to defund Kinsey Institute

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 25, 2010

By Brian Fitzpatrick
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

In light of voluminous evidence that pioneering sexologist Alfred Kinsey and his associates were guilty not only of scientific fraud but serious criminality – culminating this week with WND’s exposé of one victim of Kinsey’s notorious “child sexuality” studies conducted by pedophile “researchers” – Indiana legislators are calling for the defunding of the Kinsey Institute, located on the campus of state-subsidized Indiana University.

State representatives Cindy Noe and Woody Burton emphasized that any effort to cut off the Kinsey Institute hinges on electing Republican majorities in the state legislature.

“I don’t think the Kinsey Institute is a proper use of taxpayer money. Given the pressure that higher education is under now I can’t think of a better time to defund them,” said Noe.

Burton has spearheaded efforts in the past to defund the Kinsey Institute. The veteran legislator noted that gerrymandered districts have kept Democrats in power in the state legislature, frustrating Republican attempts to bring Kinsey funding to a vote.

Noe and Burton’s assessment was echoed by an optimistic Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, who recently circulated an e-mail to Indiana state legislators requesting that money for the Kinsey Institute be blocked.

“After November we’ll have a good legislature that will listen. This is the kind of material our taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be supporting,” said Clark.

“The last time I tried to defund them, their budget was $666,000,” Burton told WND. “That number was quite a joke in the Indiana House.”

“I went down to that place and toured it. It’s just a pit. It’s just a porno pit. They’ve got rooms where they take the college students in and show them pornography and do things to them. It’s just disgusting; and they sit there and try to tell you it’s just science.

“They perform sex,” Burton explained. “They have a room and they send a girl in and insert a thing in her and measure her sexual stimulation. They have another room for boys. They have displays of all the sex toys throughout history, and they act like that’s OK. I said this is trash, and they resented my saying it.”

Burton noted that much of the Kinsey collection of sexual paraphernalia and research files are not open to the public – not even to the state legislators who fund it.

“I was trying to get a legislative order to go in and see that stuff. A video was sent to me about this guy on the Kinsey Institute board, who said they have a system set up to destroy their files immediately if anybody tries to get in to see it with a court order. ”

Clark has long been a leader in social conservative efforts to cut off the Kinsey Institute state subsidies.

“We have battled with Indiana’s legislature for years to stop supplying money to Indiana University for the Kinsey Institute,” Clark told WND.

“The Kinsey Institute has shaped the policies of SIECUS and Planned Parenthood, and their version of sex education has now infiltrated our schools,” Clark told WND. “The other side wears that as a badge of honor. We view that as a badge of shame.”

“Kinsey is a known child molester all over Indiana,” Clark added.

Clark believes next year could be the year his efforts to shut down the Kinsey Institute could bear fruit, as he expects the Indiana legislature will mount an investigation of the Institute based on the new reporting on Kinsey’s connections with pedophiles.

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Parents stopped from forcing Texas teen to have abortion

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 25, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — Alliance Defense Fund allied attorneys representing a 16-year-old girl secured a temporary restraining order Monday from a Texas court that blocks her parents from forcing her to have an abortion against her will.

On two occasions, the teenager’s mother literally dragged her to local abortion facilities, including International Healthcare Solutions and Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, demanding that her daughter terminate the life of her child.  Though she refused and the child’s father also does not want the baby killed, her parents continued to insist that they will force her to have the abortion. The court’s order prevents that from happening.

“No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life–especially one that belongs to someone else–is worthless. The right not to have an abortion is protected by law, and this right isn’t relinquished just because someone else considers the child to be an unwanted burden,” said Stephen Casey of Round Rock, one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance. Casey and another ADF-allied attorney, Gregory R. Terra of Georgetown, filed the motion for the restraining order together with Allan E. Parker of The Justice Foundation in San Antonio.

The 16-year-old high school student, who is carrying a 13-week-old pre-born child, was even more confirmed in her decision against having an abortion after receiving information from a pro-life prayer worker outside one of the abortion facilities to which her mother dragged her. The Justice Foundation’s Center Against Forced Abortion and the two ADF-allied attorneys working with the Texas Alliance for Life and the Austin Coalition for Life coordinated efforts on the girl’s behalf to file a motion for a temporary restraining order on Sunday. The court granted it Monday. She is still living with her parents.

“This situation illustrates what a difference it can make when a woman is more fully informed about the true nature of abortion,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “We intend to fully support this young woman in her desire to allow her child to live.”

The motion for the temporary restraining order was filed by ADF-allied attorneys in the District Court of Travis County. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Oct. 28 to consider a motion to convert the temporary restraining order into a temporary injunction.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.


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Freedom of Religion – Atheism has it Wrong

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 23, 2010

Freedom of religion makes the news quite a bit as atheists attempt to stomp out any and all references to God frequently claiming “separation of church and state” as meaning a valedictorian can’t mention God in their commencement speech, or nativity scenes can’t exist in public places, or crosses on hills, or any public display of religion anywhere.

It’s important to understand that opinion only recently came to light; from the inception of the country until recently, the original intent, meaning, and application were quite different. And if anyone knew what the Founders intended, it was the men who wrote it; by studying the early application a picture becomes clear of what the Constitution intended for freedom of religion.

First off, it’s freedom to religion, not freedom from; atheists have it wrong. But how many of them have actually read the first amendment and understand the history?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Simply reading it, two obvious points can’t be missed:

  1. It concerns Government—specifically Congress.
  2. It states Congress shall not pass law establishing religion. In other words, a national church.

If you just read the Constitution, you’d never arrive at the absurd conclusion a student couldn’t mention God in their speech, or a state could not have prayer before convening the legislature. Simply put, it’s a restriction on legislation of the Federal government only (14th amendment issues included, it still only applies to legislation, and certainly can’t apply to private citizens).

So how does “Congress” morph into “private citizen”, and “law” change into “any expression” when that clearly isn’t what it says? The prohibition involves law (legislation) only, not expressions, as freedom of religious expression is specifically mentioned not to be prohibited. God in speeches? Fine. Prayer before legislature? Acceptable. Crosses in cemeteries or memorials? Perfectly legitimate. None of those are law establishing a national religion, rather they’re free exercises of religion.

More importantly, would any lawyer or judge with an IQ above single digits arrive at a conclusion the Founders really meant “citizen” when they wrote “Congress”, or “law” really means “expression”? The atheist version of the first amendment reads:

No person shall have any expression of religion in public, and it’s acceptable to prohibit the free exercise thereof…

Turning “Congress” into “citizen” and “law” into “expression” provides the very definition of judicial activism — judges making up what the law clearly doesn’t say. Worse yet, in this case, it’s obvious the Founders (and the Supreme Court until the 1940’s) most definitely would not agree with the “no religion allowed” view of it; that opinion is a relatively recent idea; even in 1952 the Supreme Court acknowledged the founding of United States on religious principles.

We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. … When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe. Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U. S. 306 (1952)

It’s absurd and laughable when some groups attempt to deny the country’s religious foundation1. That can only come from someone who hasn’t studied history, or attempts to rewrite it to suit their view. Even atheist groups2 begin their Supreme Court history on this subject in 1948, simply because it’s a recent opinion.

How the activist interpretation became popular provides an interesting story, but for now understand it’s a very recent theory, beginning in the 1940’s and culminating in the 1960’s to provide the current model of open hostility to religion.

But that’s not what the Founders intended, as even a casual glance at both the Founders, and history until the 1940’s proves abundantly obvious.

Courtesy of

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Court asked to investigate anti-prayer campaign

Posted by faithandthelaw on October 23, 2010

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

A federal district court has been asked to investigate whether the principal of a public school in Florida caught up in a long-running fight raised by the American Civil Liberties Union over prayer was used as a defendant in a case without his knowledge or authorization.

The questions are raised in a notice filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida by  Liberty Counsel, which has been trying to overturn a deal set up with the school board that has been described as largely stripping teachers and faculty members of their constitutional right to expression and religion.

WND previously has reported on the dispute at Pace High School, including when it was elevated to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Teachers say they are literally forced to pray in school closets to avoid contempt charges

The heart of the case stems from complaints that adults were praying at optional and privately sponsored off-campus events in the Santa Rosa County School District. The situation has generated concerns that school staff members, for fear of reprisals, were forced to hide in a closet to pray when a family lost a child.

The original case came after two high school seniors in 2008 brought the complaint under the pseudonym of “Doe.” The final solution adopted by the school board was a “Consent Decree” crafted by the American Civil Liberties Union which since then has been used to threaten employees with fines and jail time for something as personal as praying over a meal.

Liberty Counsel then brought a legal challenge to the actions and now with its “Notice of Potentially Improper or Unethical Conduct” is requesting an investigation into how a new principal at Pace High School, Bryan Shell, became involved in the case.

The formal notice explains that while paperwork was filed on behalf of Shell in the legal clash, “it appears, however, that the principal has never authorized any of these actions to be taken on behalf of his office.”

The request includes two affidavits from school employees who have verified that Shell was “shocked” to learn that he had been added to the case as a defendant.

“The principal is apparently upset and angry that others are litigating on his behalf and in the name of his office without informing him or seeking his authorization,” the legal notification affirms.

“These facts suggest that the two existing defendants in this suit may have considered the court’s invitation to the principal as merely an opportunity for them to have a third bite of the litigation apple, and are using the office of principal to suit their purposes without the knowledge, much less authorization, of the duly appointed occupant of that office,” Liberty Counsel wrote.

The affirmations about the principal’s concerns came from Bridget Head, his secretary, and Martha Gough, a teacher at the school.

“Mr. Shell also told me that he had not even seen any of the documents that were purportedly filed on behalf of his office in this lawsuit before they were filed,” Gough’s statement said.

The Liberty Counsel filing requested an investigation into the circumstances.

According to a Liberty Counsel statement, the actions “enlarge the shroud of doubt over the actions of the Santa Rosa County School Board, the superintendent and the ACLU.”

As part of the long battle in the district, Liberty Counsel was successful in 2009 defending employee Michelle Winkler on contempt charges brought by the ACLU after her husband, who is not employed by the district, offered a meal prayer at a private event in a neighboring county.

Also, Liberty Counsel successfully defended former Pace High School Principal Frank Lay, now retired, and Athletic Director Robert Freeman on criminal contempt charges. The ACLU complained that Freeman offered a blessing for a lunch for some 20 adult booster club members.

According to Liberty Counsel, under the decree and the official district guidelines, “teachers are always considered to be acting in their ‘official capacity’ whenever a student is present, even at private functions off campus. Teachers cannot pray, bow their heads, or fold their hands to show agreement with anyone who does pray. Teachers and staff cannot ‘Reply’ to an e-mail sent by a parent if the parent’s e-mail refers to God or Scripture. Teachers either have to delete such references from the original e-mail or reply by initiating a new e-mail. Teachers and staff are also required to stop students from praying in their own private club meetings. During witness testimony, Winkler cried as she described how she and a coworker, who had recently lost a child, had to hide in a closet to pray.”

WND also reported when Florida lawmakers got involved in the case. They adopted a new law that reads, “District school boards, administrative personnel, and instructional personnel are prohibited from taking affirmative action, including, but not limited to, the entry into any agreement, that infringes or waives the rights or freedoms afforded to instructional personnel, school staff, or students by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, in the absence of the express written consent of any individual whose constitutional rights would be impacted by such infringement or waiver.”

Reports confirm Winkler told of hiding inside a closet in the school when a co-worker sought comfort from her after the loss of the co-worker’s 2-year-old child.

The two hid in the closet because they were worried about being seen and being held in contempt of court under the ACLU-negotiated decree.

Members of the 2009 graduating class at Pace High School expressed their objections to the ACLU restrictions on statements of religious faith at their school by rising up en masse at their ceremony and reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Nearly 400 graduating seniors at Pace stood up at their graduation, according to Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. Parents, family and friends joined in the recitation and applauded the students when they were finished, Staver told WND.

Courtesy of

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