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Posted 8/26/11 at 1:55 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
The effort to normalize homosexual behavior on America’s college campuses continues apace. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Elmhurst College in Illinois “has become the first institution to include a question about sexual orientation and gender identity on its undergraduate admissions application.” The reason? “To connect students with campus programs and services.” FULL POST
Posted 8/25/11 at 2:46 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
Author: ADF Senior Counsel Brett Harvey
In a remarkable 2-1 split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit – which presides over the four states of the Carolinas and the Virginias – invalidated the policy of Forsyth County, NC, that allowed prayers to be offered before meetings of the County Council. The court acknowledged that the county policy was “neutral and proactively inclusive.” However, it was struck down because the court found that references to Jesus in the prayers offered by private citizens were too “frequent.”
The decision is troubling on many fronts. It is out of step with many other federal courts that have considered the validity of public invocations, including the U. S. Supreme Court. It ignores the religious heritage and history of our nation. But more troubling is the impact of the court’s decision on prayer itself. The court decision ignores a key purpose of a public invocation. It requires the government to censor private prayers and engage in comparative theology. The majority opinion punishes a county for the demographic make-up of the community and signals to people from many faith traditions that their prayers are not welcome. FULL POST
Posted 8/25/11 at 1:49 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
ADF has just completedits appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the prolife student club, Rock for Life, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The case demonstrates the problems with campus “speech codes.” Many universities have these vaguely worded policies that prohibit students from engaging in things like ”incivility” or “disrespect” or “intolerance.” Frequently, these speech codes allow the listeners, and not the intent of the speaker, to determine whether the speaker has violated the speech code. So, such statements as “abortion is wrong, ” or “marriage is a man and a woman,” or “Jesus Christ is Lord,” can violate a campus speech code if the listeners feel harassed, threatened, offended, or disrespected by those words, no matter what the speaker intended with his words. FULL POST
Posted 8/25/11 at 12:09 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
The following opinon column appeared on Scotusblog.com on 8/25/11.
Author: ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum
Some rights are so foundational to our system of government that we deem them “fundamental.” In his response to my earlier post in the SCOTUSblog marriage symposium, Robert Levy states that, under our current constitutional construct, a right is deemed fundamental if it is either “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” or “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” But what he has missed is that it is not “either…or.” Rather, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington v. Glucksberg (1997), fundamental rights are those “which are, objectively, deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.” In other words, these rights are not arbitrary or secondary. They are primary: the right to life, the right to the free exercise of religion, and the rights to free speech and association. FULL POST
Posted 8/25/11 at 11:24 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom
The following opinion column appeared on Townhall.com on 8/25/11.
Veterans of the summer lawn wars dream of a world where crab grass and spurge retreat before advancing Zoysia, and rose bushes choke ivy off the trellis.
Does the Garden ever overtake the Wilderness?
In law and culture, as in all spheres of life, the “natural order” tends always to disorder. Culture, as the term implies, must be cultivated, because bad ideas drive out good ones like weeds in an unkempt garden. Years ago, in the withering aftermath of the Supreme Court’s discovery of a “fundamental right to abortion” in Roe v. Wade, activist judges rushed to create new and broader abortion “rights” at the expense of the first and most precious right – the right to life. Like weeds sprouting from cracks in a sidewalk, rulings sprang up across the country declaring the “right” to taxpayer funding of abortion, mandating the use of public hospitals as abortuaries, striking down medical safeguards against dangerous abortion practices and denying women truthful information about what abortion really is and does. FULL POST
Posted 8/24/11 at 4:10 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
Author: ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears
It’s an extraordinary breakthrough – a remarkable opportunity for the Alliance Defense Fund to stand in defense of religious freedom in the United Kingdom in cases that – if they are decided the wrong way – could have a negative impact on your religious liberty here in the United States.
On August 12, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) granted ADF permission to intervene in four rights of conscience (“freedom to disagree”) cases originating in the UK. In two of those crucial cases, former Slovakian Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky (now a respected attorney) was given permission to intervene alongside ADF. Carnogursky knows his subject well: in the 1980s, he was imprisoned by the Communists for his religious and political views.
The court combined the four cases – involving British government employees facing unlawful discrimination because of their Christian beliefs – into two: Eweida and Chaplin v. United Kingdom and Ladele and McFarlane v. United Kingdom. The ECHR agreed to review both cases on appeal, which means its final decision could potentially impact all Council of Europe member states – and the U.S., where many courts now cite foreign precedents in their decisions. FULL POST
Posted 8/24/11 at 1:51 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
In his book, Original Intent, David Barton details the bravery of colonial pastors who spoke out against the tyranny of England and in many cases led the charge for independence. Barton tells the story of Rev. John Peter Muhlenberg who, on January 21, 1776, preached to his Virginia congregation concerning the crisis then facing America. He recounted to them how America had been founded in pursuit of religious and civil liberties and how they were now in danger of losing those liberties. He concluded with these words: FULL POST
Posted 8/23/11 at 10:42 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom
Author: ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot
Anyone opposed to the acceptance of homosexual behavior as a healthy, normal, moral equivalent to heterosexuality is often accused of homophobia – an irrational fear of those engaged in homosexual behavior. This same label is applied to any church that teaches biblical morality on the issue. Recently, Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, had to defend his church’s loving and biblical morality teachings against an attack from a homosexual activist who persuaded the head of Starbucks to breach his contract to speak at the church’s leadership summit. Some churches, like Mt. Hope Church in East Lansing, Michigan, are sometimes even physically attacked by radical groups who support the homosexual agenda like BashBack! (an indication of irrational fear on their part). FULL POST
Posted 8/22/11 at 5:21 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
The following opinion column apeared on Humanevents.com on 8/20/11.
Two days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, smoke was still rising from the twisted and burnt material that used to be the World Trade Center. Untold numbers of first responders from around the country were converging on New York City to help look for survivors trapped in the rubble, and the nation as a whole was still somewhere between fear and unmitigated anger: somewhere between “woe is me” and “woe is thee.”
And that’s when workers came upon a 20-foot section of steel beams that the heat and pressures of the attacks had left shaped as a cross. It was standing upright in the mangled mess, and for those laboring in the carnage and the untold numbers of family and friends waiting to receive news on the safety of their loved ones, the cross provided a moment of transcendence.
Throughout the months of cleanup that followed, that cross “served as a symbol of hope for many devastated by the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history,” according to Congressman J. Randy Forbes of Virginia. It was, and continues to be, a commonly used symbol of sacrifice for all kinds of people: not just Christians. And as such, it is simply a part of the history of the 9/11 attacks. FULL POST
Posted 8/22/11 at 4:45 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom
The following opinion conlum appeared on Townhall.com on 8/20/11.
Author: ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum
On Aug. 2, the ripple effect from New York’s recently passed same-sex “marriage” law bumped up against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Star-Ledger suggested Christie “should consider taking a page out of [New York Gov.] Cuomo’s playbook,” by which they meant that Christie ought to force-feed the public with same-sex “marriage” just like Cuomo did. According to the Ledger, there is a “recent poll” which shows that “more New Jersey residents support same sex marriage than oppose it,” thus it’s time to act.
Written by the Ledger’s editorial board, the column’s position is that Christie “should heed voters on gay marriage.” The good news is two-fold. First, the poll the paper cites represents another flawed attempt by the left to make things look better for their side than they really are. Second, Christie’s personal views on homosexual behavior may be tough to pin down, but he has made it clear so far that he’s “not a fan of same-sex marriage” and that “it’s not something that [he’ll] support.” FULL POST