Category: Religious Freedom

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

Twitter Restricts Pro-life Advertisements Again, Backtracks Amid Media Scrutiny

Twitter has again suspended a pro-life organization from running ads on its site only to then backpedal upon receiving questions from conservative media about their actions.

The Daily Caller reported Wednesday that they contacted Twitter after it became known that the social media giant had removed three ads from the pro-life group Human Coalition. Twitter placed the nonprofit organization’s advertising privileges “under review” because they had supposedly violated the company’s policy forbidding “inappropriate” content.

Twitter reportedly told Human Coalition that they would be notified by email upon completion of the review. Last Thursday Human Coalition received that email informing them they were suspended from running any advertisements on Twitter.

One of three ads that were moved contained messages explaining that abortion is not healthcare and intentionally killing another human being contradicts the Hippocratic oath. Another mentioned how abortion is the leading cause of death in the African-American community but almost never comes up in the national discourse about racism, and that 80 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics operate in racial minority neighborhoods.

The third removed ad mentioned that Planned Parenthood aborts more than 900 babies daily and argued that there is “no moral, social, cultural, or health reason” for the abortion giant to exist.

Earlier this week the Daily Caller contacted Twitter to inquire about the suspension and asked why Planned Parenthood was not banned from running ads while the Human Coalition was restricted.

Only two hours after the conservative news outlet made the request, Twitter contacted Human Coalition to tell them they had lifted the suspension and that their tweets were approved.

“Twitter claims to believe in ‘free expression’ and to think that ‘every voice has the power to impact the world.’ I believe Twitter does think that every voice has the power to change the world — and I believe that is exactly why they suppressed Human Coalition and others who proclaim the pro-life worldview,” Human Coalition spokesperson Lauren Enriquez said in a statement.

“The fact that Twitter ideologues actively suppress Human Coalition’s pro-life expressions betrays their fear of how we are changing the world. And we don’t plan to stop changing the world any time soon.”

Human Coalition is not the first pro-life group to have its content regarded as offensive and censored.

Pro-life investigative group Live Action and the pro-life political action committee the Susan B. Anthony List have both tangled with Twitter for the ability to run ads containing messages opposed to abortion and Planned Parenthood.

Likewise, as The Christian Post previously reported, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee currently vying to replace retiring Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate, faced similar issues in October. In her introductory campaign ad she highlighted her role in leading the Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, speaking specifically how they “stopped the sale of baby body parts—thank God.”

When Twitter pulled the ad they insisted she remove the Planned Parenthood reference because it was “inflammatory,” but Blackburn refused and demanded an apology. Twitter ultimately relented and allowed the ad amid outcry.

Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalter

Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/twitter-restricts-pro-life-advertisements-again-backtracks-amid-media-scrutiny-222260/

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

Atheist Group Objects to Class Creation of Cross Memorials as Part of City’s Remembrance of Fallen Veterans

The nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist organization has expressed objection to the creation of cross memorials at a Georgia high school as part of a city effort to remember fallen soldiers.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter earlier this year to the attorney for Catoosa County Public Schools to assert that the crosses, made at Ringgold High School, were unconstitutional.

“We write to request assurances that, in the future, Mr. Elliott nor any other district employee will include religious messages in student assignments, allow school-sponsored religious activities, or otherwise promote or endorse religion in their official capacities,” it read.

The organization also took issue with another school in the district, as it had learned that Heritage High School’s leadership class had partnered with a Christian missions organization to build a school for the poor in Nicaragua. The district’s director of students services had recommended the group Nicamerican Missions after Principal Ronnie Bradford suggested the class partner with a school in the third world.

FFRF’s correspondence has just now come to light.

“It is laudable for the district to encourage students to become active, charitable, and involved in their community by volunteering and donating, but the school cannot use that goal as an avenue to support a religious organization with a religious mission,” the letter read in part.

“Partnering with any one of the numerous secular charities doing important work throughout the world would serve HHS’s purpose without running the risk of the district sending a message of religious endorsement,” FFRF asserted. According to the Times Free Press, students raised $20,000 last December from area businesses in just two days, and a student-faculty basketball game was also held in February as a fundraiser for the effort.

In regard to the crosses, which were made by construction classes at Ringgold High School for the biannual Festival of Flags event, FFRF requested that the district direct teacher Tim Elliott to discontinue the project with his students.

The crosses, which bear the names of fallen soldiers, are placed in the ground throughout the city for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. American flags fly atop each small memorial.

“Public school teachers may not assign students to create religious symbols,” the letter from the Church-State separation group read. “… This assignment violates the principle that ‘the preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and choice committed to the private sphere.’ It also sends a message that the government only cares about the deaths of Christian soldiers, not other non-Christian and non-religious soldiers.”

Catoosa County Public Schools has just now responded to the controversy, explaining in a recent press release that while the district attorney is researching the matter, officials are supportive of the projects at issue.

“Catoosa County Public Schools supports students’ participating in service activities,” said Superintendent Denia Reese. “The flag holders that the RHS construction class built to support honoring our veterans, and the money that our HHS students raised to build a school for underprivileged children, are examples of our students working to serve others.”

“The system’s attorney is thoroughly researching the allegations from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and when he has completed this research he will respond to them explaining how our students can continue to participate in these service activities,” she explained.

In his 1823 book “Letters to a Young Man Commencing His Education,” Noah Webster, also known as the father of American education, wrote, “Let it then be the first study of your early years, to learn in what consists real worth or dignity of character. To ascertain this important point, consider the character and the attributes of the Supreme Being. As God is the only perfect being in the universe, His character, consisting of all that is good and great, must be the model of all human excellence, and His laws must of course be the only rules of conduct by which His rational creatures can reach any portion of like excellence.”

Courtesy of http://christiannews.net/2017/12/09/atheist-group-objects-to-class-creation-of-cross-memorials-as-part-of-citys-remembrance-of-fallen-veterans/

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.

One Nation Under Allah? – Attempts to Hide the Truth Will Not Stand

islamIslamic indoctrination is happening in public schools all across America.

Over the past few months, we have updated you on some of the Islamic indoctrination happening in Tennessee and Georgia. However, these are not isolated events – it’s a nation-wide epidemic that has been brewing for a while.

For the last several years, parents from across the country have contacted the ACLJ—from California to Maine—concerned about the teaching of Islam in their local schools. It seems that many schools may be going well beyond simply teaching about a religion. From disparate treatment of religions, to distortion of truth, the teaching of Islam seems entrenched with problems.

Students in Tennessee and Georgia were told to recite the Five Pillars of Islam—the Islamic conversion creed—while not learning about Christianity or Judaism. Some schools in Georgia reportedly went as far as to tell students that Allah is the same Godworshipped by Christians. And at least one Tennessee middle school—where Islam was covered for over three weeks—students were told to write “Allah is the only God,” while the lesson on Christianity was skipped in its entirety. This far surpasses education on the history of world religions. This is indoctrination.

Almost 7,000 Tennessee citizens have contacted us expressing their opposition to this egregious practice. It is our goal to make sure that any unconstitutional actions by the school districts, pertaining to Islamic indoctrination, cease. To this end, we sent open record requests to every school district in Tennessee—on behalf of over 160,000 individuals—to uncover the truth about what students are learning.  Although, several school district attorneys have tried to stall compliance based on the “citizenship” of the ACLJ, the State of Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel has already specifically addressed that matter (in a letter dated September 23, 2015) and has made clear that the requested documents must be made accessible to our requesting attorney, who is a Tennessee citizen, stating:

“Because a corporation does not have the ability to provide a government issued photo identification with an address on it, it is the opinion of this office that for purposes of the Act, the term ‘citizen’ does not include corporations. However, it is also the opinion of this office that when an individual who is making a request on behalf of a corporation is able to produce government issued photo identification that includes a Tennessee address, any record that is responsive to the request and is not confidential is required to be made accessible to the requestor.”(emphasis added)

The opinion from the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel only serves to underscore what we have known all along – our open records requests are valid, and the school districts are required to produce all records that are responsive to our requests.  We are following up with any school districts that have erroneously denied our open records request.  In the end, these flawed stonewalling tactics will not stand to hide the truth.

Of course, not all school districts in Tennessee followed the stall tactic, and we are currently receiving and working with many districts pertaining to the requested records.

But it’s not just Tennessee where we are involved.  In April, we reported that at least one high school in Wisconsin was apparently forcing students to “pretend you are a Muslim.” We sent a letter to the school—on behalf of thousands of concerned citizens and parents—explaining that forcing students to adopt a particular religious viewpoint violates the Establishment Clause. Now, we have heard from over 205,000 people across the nation, and are currently looking into curriculum concerns in Georgia where we have heard from almost 6,000 citizens and California where we have heard from over 22,000 citizens.

The ACLJ is continuing to fight to end the unconstitutional teaching of Islam in public schools. We are taking on clients and preparing important demand letters to send to these schools and are weighing our legal options to stop this outrage.

Incredibly, as Islam continues to be taught in schools around the nation, students are being denied the right to establish Bible Clubs on campus, bring their Bibles to school, and speak about Christianity. Simply put, schools may not promote Islam while silencing Christianity.

The ACLJ is working tirelessly to protect students’ right across America. Please stand with us as we fight to bring the Constitution back into public schools.

Courtesy of http://aclj.org/religious-liberty/one-nation-under-allah–attempts-to-hide-the-truth-will-not-stand

Sign ACLJ Petition:

Stop Islamic Indoctrination in School

 

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