Category: Hot Legal News

Colorado Civil Rights Commission: The True Hate Group

Imagine for a moment that you are a public servant who has taken an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. Now imagine that the Supreme Court of the United States admonished you and your colleagues for actions they deemed unconstitutional in a 7-2 landmark decision.

Would you be humbled? Would you make a good-faith effort to change the policies and behavior that put you at the mercy of the nation’s highest court? Most of us would. But this does not seem to be the case for some acting on behalf of the state of Colorado.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court called out state officials for acting with hostility towards Jack Phillips, a cake artist in the Denver area who declined to design a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.

The Court found that the state of Colorado violated Jack’s free exercise of religion. In fact, the majority found the government’s actions so hostile and so biased that it did not need to consider any of Jack’s free-speech claims.

So what has Colorado done to remedy what the Court called its “impermissible religious hostility”? Absolutely nothing. In fact, less than one month after the Masterpiece decision, state officials targeted the very same individual who beat them before the Supreme Court.

It is beyond belief.

Jack has spent six years battling the state for simply declining to express a message that conflicts with his religious beliefs. Now, right after the Supreme Court has given him the justice he deserves, the state of Colorado has decided to pursue a second claim against Jack. This one is even more baseless than the first.

In June of 2017, the very day that the Supreme Court decided to hear Masterpiece, a local attorney asked Jack to design a custom pink-and-blue cake to celebrate his gender transition, a request that Jack politely declined. Of course, Jack serves everyone. He just cannot express all messages, especially those that conflict with his Christian beliefs. Jack has never created a cake expressing this message for anyone.

Still, Colorado has decided to use this case to target Jack a second time.

This comes even after the state was reprimanded by the Supreme Court in Masterpiece. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy emphasized that Colorado unequally applied its laws against Jack. The state decided in other cases that cake artists are free to decline requests for cakes criticizing same-sex marriage. Yet the state came down against Jack when he declined to design a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage.

The first time around, it looked like Colorado was biased against people of faith. Now, it just looks like the state is biased against people named “Jack Phillips.” In moving ahead on this new case, the government is yet again confirming that it applies its law in an arbitrary and unequal way, which the Supreme Court has already said it cannot do.

On top of that, the state is contradicting the arguments it made the first time around. A brief Colorado sent to the Supreme Court argued that Jack is “free to decline to sell cakes with ‘pro-gay’ designs.” But what is this recently requested cake but a custom cake with a “pro-transgender” design? If Colorado were following what it told the Supreme Court, it would have dismissed this case against Jack.

But Colorado shows that it is waging a crusade against Jack in harassing him again. Enough is enough. Alliance Defending Freedom is “going on offense” and suing the state of Colorado on Jack’s behalf for its blatant targeting of him.

You would think that a clear Supreme Court decision against their first effort would give them pause. But it seems like some in the state government are hell-bent on punishing Jack for living according to his faith.

If that isn’t hostility, what is?

The government is harassing people of faith again

Jack Phillips, cake artist and owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is once again being harassed by the government for his religious beliefs. Despite winning his Supreme Court case, the State of Colorado is going after Jack again for simply living his life according to his faith.

We must stand together against the government’s attempts to reduce our religious freedom. Sign the statement below declaring your desire to stand with Jack in defense of religious freedom.

“I believe that the First Amendment is intended to protect the religious freedom of all citizens. This means that the government cannot compel citizens to violate their deeply held beliefs.

I believe that religious freedom is critical to maintaining a free society and that it must be defended.”

Add your signature below.

https://go.pardot.com/l/414972/2018-08-10/bd51l

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith

https://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2018/08/15/colorado-is-ignoring-the-supreme-court-and-targeting-jack-phillips-again

College Student Banned From Religious Studies Class After Saying There Are Only 2 Genders

A student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania claims that he has been barred from a religious studies class he needs to graduate this May and asked to apologize after voicing his belief that there are only two biological genders.

Last week, IUP student Lake Ingle took to his Facebook page to let his disbelief be known. He is being punished, he wrote, by the university for his response after the professor of his class on “self, sin and salvation” showed a TED Talks video featuring transgender woman Paula Stone Williams.

Ingle detailed his “best and fairest” account of the incident that transpired after Dr. Alison Downie showed the video to the class on Feb. 28, in a now-deleted Facebook post.

“On Wednesday, February 28th, in one of my major-required courses, the instructor played a ‘Ted-Talk’ during which a transgender woman discussed her previous experiences of manhood as well as her current experiences of womanhood,” Ingle wrote. “During her speech, she gave accounts of things such as ‘mansplaining’, ‘male-privilege’, and ‘sexism’ and deemed them systemic. She also alluded to the REALITY of the gender wage gap, stating women ‘…work twice as hard for half as much.'”

After the video ended, Downie opened the floor for a discussion on “mansplaining,” male privilege, sexism and the gender wage gap and allowed only women to voice their thoughts first.

Ingle stated that after about 30 seconds of silence, he voiced his objection to the “use of one person’s anecdotal accounts of the previously mentioned experiences as fact.”

“I also took this opportunity to point out the official view of biologists who claim there are only two biological genders, as well as data from entities such as The Economist on the gender wage gap and how the claims made in the video were far from the empirically supported evidence,” Ingle wrote. “I then objected to the instructor’s, as well as the Religious Studies Dept.’s misuse of intellectual power, of which I have become familiar over the past few semesters.”

“It was at this point others in the class entered the discussion,” he added. “Class proceeded normally, thereon.”

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(PHOTO: LAKE INGLE)Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement

According to Ingle, he met with the instructor the next morning to discuss class project he is working on. During that meeting, Ingle wrote that he was presented with an “Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement.”

The form alleges that Ingle had a “disrespectful objection to the professor’s class discussion structure.” It also accused the student of talking out of turn and of having “angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism.”

Additionally, Ingle was accused of making “disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience.”

The form also called for him to issue an apology in front of the class on March 8 for each of the “disrespectful behaviors” described by the professor. The form states that after giving his apology, Ingle would have had to “listen in silence” as students in the class share how they felt during Lake’s “disruptive outbursts.”

Ingle denied the professor’s claims in his Facebook post.

“Though the documents attached present a narrative of disrespect, disruption, anger, and intolerance — I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth,” Ingle said.

The Christian Post reached out to IUP for clarification about Ingle’s alleged “angry outbursts.” However, a university spokesperson told CP that no comment could be provided because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as it pertains to student education records.

Ingle wrote in his post that he received a second document that lists further details of the violation.

“After these documents were handed to me, I read them carefully several times. I asked for one line to be revised and was answered with ‘no’ and was told it was the instructor’s job to recount what took place, not mine,” he wrote. “I then commented on the total misuse of intellectual power in a university setting, at which point I was asked to leave.”

The next morning on March 2, Ingle received a letter from Provost Timothy Moreland telling him that he is barred from attending the class and barred from speaking with Downie until the charges against him have been adjudicated.

“[T]he wording in the documents below is not only exaggerated, but more than one line is entirely untruthful and is done so purposefully to discredit my views and paint me as intolerant and ignorant,” Ingle said. “THE FACTS ARE: I did not object to the views of the speaker (Paula Stone). Rather, I objected to its misuse as hard evidence to support the ‘reality’ of phenomena that are not only a matter of opinion, but also empirically unsupported (wage gap statistics).”

“It is my belief that the instructor’s decision to file these sanctions is an attempt to bully me into redacting my views, making it a matter of free speech,” he continued. “I will be battling the university, as well as my instructor, to ensure I am not permanently removed from the class, which would mean my inability to graduate as scheduled this May.”

Ingle is subject to a hearing before the school’s Academic Integrity Board. The ruling from the hearing will be announced on March 19.

In another Facebook post, Ingle explained that he was advised to remove the initial Facebook post detailing the situation with the school after he received legal counsel.

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/college-student-banned-religious-studies-class-only-2-genders-221135/

 

Residents Banned From Holding Bible Study, Praying in Condo’s Common Area

A Florida woman filed a federal complaint after her homeowners association barred her from continuing to host a Bible study in the common room of her own condominium complex.

Last week, attorneys representing residents at the Cambridge House Condominiums in Port Charlotte, Florida, sent a Fair Housing Act complaint letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The complaint explains that Donna Dunbar, a Seventh-day Adventist lay minister who runs a nationally recognized soup kitchen with her husband, held a small women’s Bible study in the social room of the Cambridge House complex for two hours on Monday mornings for nearly a year.

The group consisted of less than 10 friends, some of which are not Cambridge residents, and is too big to fit into Dunbar’s small condo.

About three months after a the Bible study began, Dunbar was told by the then-treasurer for the Cambridge House Board of Directors that the group would have to acquire insurance for the meeting.

No other groups that use the common areas are required to acquire insurance for their meetings, according to First Liberty Institute, a legal group that represents Dunbar. But after disputing the need for insurance, Dunbar went ahead and complied with the demands so that the weekly Bible study could continue.

However, the Cambridge House board of directors passed a resolution on Feb. 6 that states: “Prayers and other religious services, observations, or meetings of any nature shall not occur … in or upon any of the common elements.”

Following the resolution’s passing, Dunbar was also sent a letter that explained that the new resolution “prohibits Bible Study meetings in the Social Room.”

Dunbar’s complaint alleges that a sign was even placed on top of the organ in the community room saying that “ANY AND ALL CHRISTIAN MUSIC IS BANNED!”

“The Cambridge House Resolution, both in text and in application, is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act because it prohibits Mrs. Dunbar and other Christian residents from accessing common condominium areas for any religious activity, while allowing other residents to use those same facilities for similar non-secular purposes,” the complaint states. “In effect, the Resolution manifests profound hostility to Christians, and indeed all religious residents and discriminates against any resident who wishes to express their faith beyond the walls of their private residence.”

The complaint explains that the resolution does not ban groups from meeting in the common rooms to discuss a secular book, a secular movie or sing secular songs but prohibits Dunbar’s group from doing those activities simply because it is Christian in nature.

“The Cambridge House Resolution is so broad that it even prohibits residents from unobtrusively praying silently — before a meal or otherwise — in one of the condominium common areas,” the complaint argues.

Moreover, the resolution requires that all religious items in common areas be removed — including a statue of St. Francis of Assisi that was donated by a resident in memory of their loved one.

“We want to be there for those in this building, as well as those on the outside,” Dunbar told Fox4. “Just be there for them, support them. It’s like a support group.”

The complaint asks HUD to investigate the claims and take appropriate action if it deems the Cambridge House violated the Fair Housing Act by barring religious activities from the common areas.

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex and disability when they are renting, buying or securing finances for a home.

“The unequal treatment of citizens in the community simply out of hostility to religion violates federal law and the First Amendment,” Lea Patterson, judicial fellow at First Liberty, said in a statement. “We are confident that Secretary Ben Carson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will resolve this issue quickly.”

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/residents-banned-from-holding-bible-study-praying-in-condos-common-area-221120/?utm_source=newsletter

Judge Gives FEMA 3 Weeks to Change Policy Banning Churches From Receiving Disaster Relief

A Houston federal judge has given FEMA three weeks to decide if its going to change its policy of denying disaster relief to religious institutions, rejecting FEMA’s attempt to delay a challenge by three Texas churches.

Since the devastation by Hurricane Harvey in late August, FEMA has denied houses of worship access to federal disaster aid grants due to their religious status while allowing other nonprofits and businesses to apply, but Judge Keith Ellison has given the agency until Dec. 1 to change that policy.

If FEMA fails to change the policy within the deadline, the judge said he would issue a ruling.

“Christmas may come early for hard-hit houses of worship in Texas — the court has set the clock ticking on FEMA’s irrational religious discrimination policy,” Daniel Blomberg, counsel at Becket, the nonprofit religious liberty law firm that represents the churches, said in a statement. “It can’t come soon enough.”

(PHOTO: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA/FILE PHOTO)A Federal Emergency Management Agency employee waits for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump during a visit at FEMA headquarters in Washington, U.S., August 4, 2017.

Harvest Family Church, Hi-Way Tabernacle and Rockport First Assembly of God, which were among the first to respond in Harvey’s aftermath and continue to provide aid to their communities, sued FEMA in September.

Last month, a Roman Catholic and a Jewish group submitted friend-of-the-court briefs siding with the three evangelical churches.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston pointed out in its brief that FEMA’s policy is “especially unfair,” given that many houses of worship are often at the “very forefront” of providing “immediate aid to persons in need, regardless of faith, in the aftermath of serious tropic storms and other natural disasters.”

The Congregation Torah Vachesed synagogue of Houston noted that Hurricane Harvey was “particularly unforgiving” to the city’s Jewish community. “Despite this, Jewish institutions have been greatly involved in relief efforts throughout Houston. FEMA’s policy against funding otherwise qualifying religious institutions, however, would deny these same institutions equal access to public assistance to repair flood damage,” it wrote.

Secular groups, such as the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, said earlier that FEMA’s policy should remain as is. “The government can help many individuals and nonprofits rebuild, but not churches. It is a founding principal of our nation that citizens may not be taxed in support of religion and churches,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor argued.

“Discriminating against houses of worship — which are often on the front lines of disaster relief — is not just wrongheaded, it strikes at our nation’s most fundamental values,” said Blomberg.

In September, four Republican senators introduced a new bill, Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, which is aimed at giving houses of worship the right to receive federal assistance in the wake of natural disasters.

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/judge-gives-fema-3-weeks-change-policy-banning-churches-receiving-disaster-relief-206253/

Liberty Counsel Condemns the Inhuman Treatment of Unborn Children

ATLANTA, GA — Today Liberty Counsel files an amicus brief in the case of West Alabama Women’s Center v. Miller defending the Alabama law that prohibits dismemberment abortions of live unborn babies, known as Dilation and Extraction (D&E), based on the medical evidence of their ability to feel intense pain.

Liberty Counsel’s brief lists ample evidence that unborn babies feel pain. “[I]t is entirely uncontested that a fetus experiences pain in some capacity, from as early as 8 weeks of development.” testified Dr. Maureen Condic before U.S. legislators. Early on in fetal development pain transmitters in the spinal cord are abundant, but pain inhibitors are sparse until later, according to Dr. Colleen Malloy. This medical information shows that premature infants have greater pain sensitivity than do full-term infants. Another demonstration of this is how premature babies actually require greater concentrations of medication to maintain effective anesthesia during surgery than full-term babies, as explained in the book Neonatal Pain.

If the vilest criminal has human dignity that protects him from an inhuman, painful punishment, then how much more should our laws protect an innocent unborn child that science proves is inherently human and experiences significant pain? Dr. Condic states “[I]gnoring the pain experienced by another human individual for any reason is barbaric.”

Doctors performing the D&E abortions are acutely affected by the child’s humanity and experience deep emotions and even nightmares. One deeply pro-choice abortionist was brought to tears when her own unborn child kicked at the exact same time that she severed another’s foot in a D&E abortion. “Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes” said Dr. Lisa Harris. “It was an overwhelming feeling – a brutally visceral response – heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics.”

“We give our pets greater legal protections than we provide to the future citizens of America who have proven their humanity and their sensitivity to pain,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.  “Alabama’s law is a common sense solution to a barbaric and gruesome procedure,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

United States Accepting Only 28 Christians vs. 5,435 Muslim Refugees, Despite ISIS’ Unstoppable Genocide

assyrian-christians

The United States government is processing an unbelievably low number of Christian refugees despite the ongoing genocide at the hands of the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria, the American Center for Law and Justice reports.

The conservative law group cited numbers from the Refugee Processing Center, noting that while the U.S. has processed 11,086 Muslims from Iraq since the beginning of 2015, only 433 Christians have been added to that number. And in Syria, there have been 5,435 Muslims welcomed and only 28 Christians.

They argued, however, that religion should definitely be a consideration when granting refugee status, given that IS targets Christians and other religious minorities in the region.

The law group said Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in March that IS kills Christians because of their religion.

“So, we know that ISIS targets Christians in Iraq and Syria because they are Christians. Christians are being slaughtered, tortured, raped and displaced because they are Christian. We also know that under U.S. and international refugee law, religion is a criterion for granting refugee status,” the ACLJ added, warning that unless serious action is taken to protect minorities, they will be wiped out at the hands of IS.

Reports from last year, such as the Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing Systems, have also suggested that the U.S. is taking in very few Christians as part of its refugee program.

The November 2015 report stated that Christian refugees made up only 1.6 percent of total arrivals in 2015, while Muslims made up 97.8 percent of the total.

For comparison, close to 10 percent of the Syrian population is Christian, and at the time more than 700,000 Syrian Christians had been displaced and driven out of their homes because of IS.

The ACLJ has spoken out against IS’ genocide of minorities on a number of occasions, but back in May said that recognizing the genocide, both on the part of the U.S. and the U.N., is an important step toward addressing the crisis.

The organizaton is calling on the international community to take “swift and decisive action,” saying that June’s United Nations Human Rights Council session will have to decide on measures to put an end to the ongoing genocide.

“As the time for the HRC’s meeting is rapidly approaching, it is important that the United States and Secretary Kerry act quickly and decisively in advancing at the United Nations the cause of those Christians targeted by ISIS. We are optimistic that they will do so,” the law group wrote.

Do Women Deserve the Highest Standards of Care? Not if You Ask Planned Parenthood

PLANNEDPARENT

“At Planned Parenthood, we work every day to make sure women receive the high quality health care they need in a safe, respectful environment- including abortion care. Ensuring the health and safety of our patients is central to our mission and fundamental to every person who works at Planned Parenthood.”

So said one Planned Parenthood executive in a cut-and-paste comment last year, the kind you’ll see – nearly or perfectly verbatim – from the abortion giant’s various affiliates across the country.

Indeed, another affiliate (after parroting the exact quote above) boasts of its “rigorous medical standards and guidelines” and “rigorous standards and training for staff as well as emergency plans in place, because women’s safety is our first priority.”

Admirable aspirations, signifying a commitment to patient care that transcends all other concerns and animates the very soul of the organization, right?

Hardly. This is Planned Parenthood. And today the mask slips again.

The U.S Supreme Court announced that it would hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a case out of Texas which will be the first major abortion case before the high court in nearly a decade.

At issue is a Texas law known as House Bill 2 which requires abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers. For example, hallways at abortion businesses must be wide enough to maneuver a gurney, should a women in medical distress need to be moved through the facility.

The law also includes a provision that protects women against cut-and-run abortionists by requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. As it stands, if a woman is the victim of a botched abortion or needs hospital care as a result of one of numerous potential post-abortion complications, the abortionist without admitting privileges washes his hands of the patient and leaves her to seek care with another medical staff in another medical facility which receives the woman sight unseen and unfamiliar with necessary details of her progress to this urgent state. A knowledge gap like this can be a matter of life and death.

ADF, along with several pro-life allies, filed a brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit explaining that the “focus of the constitutionality [of the law] is on the treatment of women . . . . Texas, as many other States, has clearly recognized the risks associated with both surgical and medication abortions and has taken steps to regulate these abortions to minimize these known and potential risks and to protect women’s health and safety. Texas now is (and should continue to be) permitted to do so.”

In its opinion, the Fifth Circuit agreed, writing that the evidence demonstrates that “the State truly intends that women only receive an abortion in facilities that can provide the highest quality of care and safety—the stated legitimate purpose of H.B. 2.”

You’d think that Planned Parenthood, for all its talk of “women’s safety” and “rigorous medical standards,” would be the sponsors of this law and vigorous advocates of its affirmation in federal court.

Again, this is Planned Parenthood. Instead of celebrating the Texas legislature’s common sense move to make sure that women seeking abortions aren’t entering another Kermit Gosnell house of horrors, Planned Parenthood and its allies pressed play on its favorite talking points mix tape: “Cut off access”…“hurt women”…“#undueburden”…“attack”…“draconian law” (not sure they know what “draconian” means)…“forcing these women to carry their pregnancies to term against their will”… and so on.

Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion-industrial complex have insisted, all the way up to the Supreme Court, that abortionists should not be held to the same standards as everyone else . . . and that the women who enter their doors don’t really deserve the highest level of care.

Let’s hope that when the Supreme Court hears the case in the spring and decides it by the beginning of summer it rules that states can protect women, even over the protests of the abortion industry.

Planned Parenthood, for its millions in marketing and meticulous corporate message control, is having a harder time passing itself off as the tender-hearted, indispensable women’s health champion. Its opposition to a common sense law that says all women deserve the highest standard of safety and care (even in an abortion clinic where no one is truly safe and cared-for) and that holds abortion businesses to the same standards as other medical clinics again exposes the irreconcilability of Planned Parenthood’s words and actions.

Courtesy of http://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2015/11/16/do-women-deserve-the-highest-standards-of-care-not-if-you-ask-planned-parenthood

 

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