Wednesday, January 21, 2015

U. S. Supreme Court rejects appeal by Diocese of Baton Rouge over seal of the confessional case

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari (declined to hear) an appeal of the case in which the Louisiana Supreme Court held that a trial court could decide whether a communication between a teenager and a priest over the 14-year old's sexual abuse by a parishioner amounted to a confession.

According to the teenager, the information was told to the priest during a sacramental confession.  The diocese maintains that the seal of the confessional prohibits the priest from revealing anything told to him during the confession, event the identity of the person making the confession. The girl and her parents claim that the priest was a mandatory reporter under Louisiana law and had an obligation to take the information to the police.

In response to the denial, the diocese of Baton Rouge issued the following statement:

“This morning, January 20, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Diocese and Father Bayhi’s  Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to review the decision of the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Diocese and Fr. Bayhi are disappointed that the Court denied our request, at least at this stage, to intervene in this case, which has significant ramifications for religious freedom in Louisiana and beyond.

“Notwithstanding the Court’s decision not to intervene at this time, The Diocese and Fr. Bayhi have a number of options for raising further constitutional challenges in this case, which they are currently evaluating.  The denial of the writ is in no way a ruling on the merits of the case, nor does it preclude the Diocese or Father Bayhi from pursuing constitutional challenges which have not yet been ruled upon by the trial court.  The Diocese and Fr. Bayhi will continue their efforts to protect the guarantees of religious freedom set forth in our state and federal constitutions, and are confident that those efforts will, in due course, be successful.”

We’ve had two earlier posts and programs on the topic.  Our program on July 15, 2014 featured Msgr. Larry Beeson, a canon lawyer discussing the topic; you can read the earlier story here. And on September 9, 2014 we discussed the matter with Professor Dane Ciolino of the Loyola New Orleans School of law.  The earlier post for that program is here.

We will keep you posted as this case now goes back to the Louisiana state courts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ontario Catholic schools required to adopt curriculum encouraging sexual immorality contrary to the Catholic Church's teaching

By Kimberly Scharfenberger 

Catholic schools in Ontario, Canada, will be unable to opt out of a mandatory sexual education curriculum that will allegedly encourage immoral sexual activity and teachings contrary to the Catholic Church, according to Life Site News.

Ontario’s education minister, Liz Sandals, reportedly announced that all of the region’s school systems—both Catholic and public—will use the same curriculum document, despite significant opposition in 2010 over a former version of the curriculum.

“If the curriculum is anything like its forerunner, shelved in 2010 after parental backlash, it will likely contain items contrary to Catholic sexual and moral teaching, such as approval of masturbation, anal and oral sex, homosexuality, and contraception,” Life Site News reported.

According to another Life Site News report, distraught parents protested against the 2010 curriculum which would have purportedly “taught children to question their male/female identity [and] experimental family structures.”

The report continued:

When host Steve Paikin asked Sandals directly to respond to concerns that the curriculum would “actively encourage 12 year olds to masturbate as one way of learning about your body and teach eight year olds that being male or female is merely a social construct,” she did not deny that the curriculum contained these components. Sandals instead deflected the question, saying that such components would be included in the teacher’s aid as a “suitable response” if kids were to ask questions on the topic. 

The curriculum’s forced implementation is being spearheaded by Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne. Wynne requested the Ministry of Education “to finalize a new health and physical education curriculum that gets at some of the root causes of gender inequality, and starts at the very earliest stages to develop an understanding of healthy relationships and consent,” Life Site News reported. 
 
Originally published by Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Attorney for Fire Chief terminated for Christian views next on FOT


Chief Kelvin Cochran

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran who authored a book which is being sold on Amazon, is entitled “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” which is centered on God’s question to Adam following his disobedience in the Garden of Eden, and parallels the matter with those who are now “clothed in Christ,” was fired from his job by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

“Uncleanness [is] whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion,” Cochran wrote. “Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.” Many criticized the book as promoting discriminatory and anti-gay views.


Kevin Theriot
Earlier, Chief Cochran had been suspended without pay and ordered to undergo sensitivity training. He was fired after returning to work at the end of his suspension.

Mayor Reed called the book discriminatory. “I was surprised and disappointed to learn of this book,” he stated. “I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community. I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration.” The incident has been turned into a fight over religious liberty and free speech rights.

Tuesday, Chief Cochran’s attorney, Kevin Theriot will join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll to discuss the case and its implications on religious freedom.

Mr. Theriot serves as vice president of the Center for Religious Liberty with Alliance Defending Freedom and oversees its Education and Church Projects, as well as legal matters involving freedom of expression in the public square. Since joining Alliance Defending Freedom in 1993, Theriot has been successful as lead counsel or co-counsel in numerous cases preserving religious freedom.

Tune in to Faith On Trial Tuesday at 9 a.m. and rebroadcast at 9 p.m. (CST) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. Faith On Trial is proudly underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg& Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; and Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail, just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road – check for their weekly specials.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Parents Alarmed By “Pleasure Activist” in High School Classroom


Lafayette, CA—Controversy is growing in a Northern California community as parents have learned disturbing new details about recent sex ed presentations for freshmen in the Acalanes Union High School District.

For months, parents have pushed school officials for answers about who was involved and what was being taught by Planned Parenthood on campus. Just before Christmas, in response to a public records request from Pacific Justice Institute, the District finally identified some of the PP employees involved with the program. Parents are now more concerned than ever. The parents started asking more questions and learned that one of the sex ed instructors at Acalanes High School, when she is not working for Planned Parenthood, leads “pleasure workshops” demonstrating the use of sex toys for a sex toy porn shop in Berkeley called Good Vibrations. It is not yet clear what this instructor may have told students about the store’s offerings.


Brad Dacus
Parents also identified the public Twitter feed of another sex ed instructor at Acalanes High School, the PP education manager for Northern California, where she calls herself a “pleasure activist.” She commented enthusiastically on attending the CatalystCon pornography conference for her continuing education along with other Planned Parenthood representatives, just prior to teaching at AHS this past fall. This event attracts leading members of the porn industry and focuses on topics like using explicit instructional media for sex ed, the history of sex toys and how to effectively share your sex life on the stage and on the page. Other tweets (since deleted) by this instructor are too vulgar to be included here.

PJI previously reported on the District’s use of racy sex checklists, a diagram of the “Genderbread Person,” and coaching students in asking each other if it’s okay to take their clothes off. In a letter sent to PJI in early January, a lawyer for the District strongly defended the program as “age appropriate” and claimed the sex checklists were merely “idea-generating worksheets” rather than illegal surveys or questionnaires.

Although the District is promising to continue the controversial program, there are signs it is beginning to feel the parents’ pressure. After being confronted with the backgrounds of the two instructors outlined above, Superintendent John Nickerson confirmed to parents that neither of those individuals would take part in the sex ed program that began January 5. The District has not disclosed, however, who would be teaching the class and has previously admitted it does not conduct background checks on PP instructors.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, and frequent FOT guest, commented, “It has become clear that Acalanes officials have breached parental trust at every turn. They have brought individuals into the classroom who should not be anywhere near a school campus, and they continue to defend an indefensible program. In light of these most recent revelations, we are renewing our call to the District to suspend its relationship with Planned Parenthood and make sweeping changes to comply with the letter and spirit of state law. We are also calling on responsible journalists to join us in asking tough questions and holding the District accountable for these serious lapses in judgment.”

Monday, January 12, 2015

How is Planned Parenthood getting to our children? Next on FOT

What is Planned Parenthood up to these days? What new plan has it hatched to get to your
Jenifer Bowen
children? For one, PP has developed a new phone app for 12 year olds.  To discuss these recent activities as well as the events surrounding the upcoming March for Life, we will be joined Tuesday by Jennifer Bowen, executive director for Iowa Right to Life.


Jenifer has been involved with Iowa Right to Life since 2001 and joined the staff in 2007. Five years ago, she was named executive director. She holds a B.A. in Counseling from Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, and has counseled women in crisis in both religious and secular institutions.
In addition to her current role, she serves on the board of directors for “And Then There Were None”, a national ministry, founded by former Planned Parenthood clinic manager Abby Johnson, which provides financial, emotional, spiritual and legal support to anyone wishing to leave the abortion industry. In the two years since forming, they’ve already assisted over 140 now or soon-to-be former workers!
Iowa Catholic Radio, KWKY Des Moines. Faith On Trial is proudly underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; and Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail, just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road – check for their weekly specials and there is entertainment in the taproom every Thursday evening.
Faith On Trial is broadcast every Tuesday at 9 & 9.  If you have comments or questions about the program you can contact Deacon Mike at DeaconMike@IowaCatholicRadio.com or Gina at Gina@IowaCatholicRadio.com.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What’s up for religious freedom in 2015?

Where is religious freedom going this year? Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday as they discuss what to look for with Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel with one of the nation’s leading institutions protecting religious liberty, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The Becket Fund has represented clients numerous clients against the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate, including Hobby Lobby, the Little Sisters of the Poor and
Daniel Blomberg
EWTN and Belmont Abby College.
Before joining Becket, Mr. Blomberg clerked for Chief Judge Alice M. Batchelder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and, before that, served as litigation counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Tune in to Faith On Trial Tuesday at 9 a.m. and rebroadcast at 9 p.m. (CST) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com.
Iowa Catholic Radio, KWKY Des Moines. Faith On Trial is proudly underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; and Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail, just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road – check for their weekly specials. If you have comments or questions about the program you can contact Deacon Mike at DeaconMike@IowaCatholicRadio.com or Gina at Gina@IowaCatholicRadio.com.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top religious liberty and media stories of the year; next on FOT

From left to right: Todd Erzen, Deacon Mike, Gina Noll

Our year end review is Tuesday.  Join Deacon Mike Manno, Gina Noll, and media guest Todd Erzen as they discuss the most outrageous religious liberty stories of the year. And if you have a nominee, let us know and we’ll include it.
Join us next Tuesday at 9 a.m. CST on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on line at IowaCatholicRadio.com.

Faith on Trial and Iowa Catholic Radio is proudly underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville of Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & ScalisePC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; and Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail, just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road – check for their weekly specials and look for Confluence products where fine beers are sold.