Friday, April 28, 2017

Teacher bans Cross and forces LGBT agenda on students; our next topic on FOT

TAMPA, FL -- Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to the Hillsborough County Public Schools regarding a teacher who has prohibited Christian jewelry, is engaging in outrageous LGBT political activism in her classroom, and punishes students who do not agree with her LGBT propaganda.

Lora Jane Riedas, a math teacher at Riverview High School, placed LGBT rainbow stickers on her students’ notebooks. Riedas’ classroom d├ęcor blatantly promotes a pro-LGBT agenda. Riedas retweeted, apparently during the school day, “favorite queer web series for kids” from “huffpostqueer” stating: “Here’s how to talk to kids about what it means to be an LGBTQ ally.” She is part of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) Leadership Institute. 
Riedas has prohibited at least three students from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming they are “gang symbols.” One of the crosses, a tiny crucifix worn by
Liberty Counsel’s ninth grade client, is less than one inch long. Riedas demanded the student stop wearing her cross necklace and singled her out for several false “misbehavior” allegations after the student removed the LGBT rainbow sticker from her class notebook. Riedas’ lesbian partner, who is also a teacher at Riverview, dressed as a nun for school spirit week, complete with a “cross necklace” made of skulls. She tweeted she has “a bad habit” and the point is to be “creepy.” 
Riedas is promoting GLSEN’s “Day of Silence” coercive political activities scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, April 21, 2017. GLSEN’s guide encourages teachers to require students ages K-12 to engage in numerous forms of coercive, group political activism, disregarding the parents’ desires or the students’ religious beliefs. Students can either “go along to get along,” or risk being “outed” as disagreeing with the teacher and GLSEN’s radical LGBT viewpoint. Some of the GLSEN coercion includes allowing students “supportive” of “Day of Silence” to refrain from verbal participation in classroom instruction, while those who do not participate in “Day of Silence” must prepare to answer class questions. GLSEN encourages teachers to “print out” LGBT propaganda and “have students read and silently write about what they learned.” 
“The bullying behavior of Lora Jane Riedas is outrageous and unconstitutional,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “A teacher cannot ban students from wearing cross necklaces when other students are permitted to wear secular jewelry. Nor can teachers retaliate against students who refuse to display rainbow stickers on their books to promote an LGBT political agenda. The classroom is for learning, not promoting the LGBT agenda,” 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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thomas More Law Center seeks to pierce veil of secrecy surrounding approval of mosque

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, announced that yesterday afternoon it filed a Public Records Request with Bernards Township on behalf of Township resident Cody Smith.  Mr. Smith had written a scathing letter to the Bernards Township Committee attacking “the stench” of secrecy surrounding the scheduled special meeting which had quickly been called for late Friday, April 21st.

That meeting was subsequently cancelled because of the lack of proper notice.  Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, observed, “Based on the timing of the meeting late in the day on Friday, the meeting agenda, and discovery that resolutions approving the settlements of both the DOJ and the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (Islamic Society) lawsuits had already been filed with the Township clerk, it is probable that a decision had already been secretly made and that the scheduled meeting was a mere formality.”

TMLC represents several Bernards Township residents who were served with intrusive and harassing subpoenas by Islamic Society attorneys.  Their only involvement was to make public comments at a public Township hearing. They were non-parties to the lawsuit, had never had an official role in the Township and had no authority to deny the Islamic Society’s permit request.  Nonetheless, the subpoenas demanded the production of emails, voice mails, text messages, and social media posts concerning Muslims, Islam, or anything to do with Muslim worship.  The subpoenas clearly infringed upon their First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association.  The only purpose of the subpoenas was to punish residents who dared to oppose the Islamic Society’s request.

 Thompson continued: “The Township Committee knows that its motivations for disapproving the proposed zoning changes were completely proper and were not animated by hatred for any person or group.  Unfortunately, the tactics of intimidation waged by the Islamic Society and the deep-state Department of Justice attorneys, appointed by former Attorney General Eric Holder to carry-out his left-wing agenda, may have taken their toll.

“We filed this open records request to obtain the settlement agreements that we believe have already been tacitly agreed upon by the parties.  In doing so, we hope to shine a light on the dark tactics employed by the Islamic Society, its attorneys, and deep-state attorneys within the Department of Justice.”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Neil Gorsuch’s first major Supreme Court case

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer involves the inability of a Christian day care center to access state funds to purchase scrap tires to resurface its playground. The state’s funds were distributed on a competitive basis, but because the day care was run by a church, the state denied funding. The case was argued before the U. S. Supreme Court last week. This link will take you to Deacon Mike Manno’s analysis if this important religious liberty case. It is published in this week's edition of The Wanderer. This case, and the Blaine Amendments, have been the subject of numerous conversations on Faith On Trial.

Monday, April 24, 2017

“Dating Naked” taken off the air; Parents Television Council responds tomorrow on FOT

Melissa Henson
Parents Television Council
The Parents Television Council (PTC) reacted with approval to the decision by the television network VH1 to cancel the reality dating show “Dating Naked.” On the program strangers go on blind dates completely nude. The network rated the program as being appropriate for children.

Tuesday PTC program director Melissa Henson will be joining Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll to discuss the dating program as well as other television programming that is not suitable for children and should be taken off the air such as the FOX program “The Mick” and others.  The mission of PTC is to protect children and families from graphic sex, violence and profanity in the media, because of their proven long-term harmful effects, and Melissa will also discuss their campaigns to clean up the broadcasting media including holding advertisers accountable.
We will also be in the midst of four Spring Care-A-Thon. Iowa Catholic Radio is largely listener supported and any tax-free pledge you can make this week will be greatly appreciated. Just click on the Care-A-Thon link to be taken to the page where you can make a secure pledge.
There is also something new this week: Our program has been extended from one-half hour to forty minutes. So if you are so inclined, let us know what you’d like to see in the extra 10
minutes we’re going to have each week.
Faith On Trial is on every Tuesday at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on and is carried on our free downloadable app which you can find at the app store. The program is rebroadcast at 9 p.m. and past programs can be found on the FOT page on the station’s web site.
And remember, FOT is supported by our loyal sponsors and underwriters: Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is live entertainment in the tap room every Thursday; and Robert Cota, Farm Bureau Financial Services, 200 West 2nd Ave., Indianola, Iowa 50125, 515-961-4555 or 515-205-5642. Robert will be joining us for part of our program this week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thomas More Law Center wins victory for Bill Donohue and the Catholic League

A victory for Free Speech!  There is no denying it; Bill Donohue, President and CEO of the Catholic League, is one of the fiercest defenders of the Catholic Church on the planet.  I’m sure most of you have seen him on national TV, responding to controversial attacks made on the Church.  So, when he asked the Thomas More Law Center to defend him and the Catholic League in a defamation lawsuit, without hesitation we agreed.  

Beginning in 2014, the case wound its way through both the state and federal courts.  Yesterday, the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Bill Donohue and the Catholic League by affirming a lower court decision dismissing the defamation lawsuit.

Responding to the decision, Erin Mersino, the Thomas More Law Center attorney handling
Erin Mersino
the case, commented: “The three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit reached the just result today.  The lawsuit filed by Jon David Couzens lacked legal merit and required dismissal of all claims.  The Thomas More Law Center exalts the court's decision both as a victory for free speech and as a victory for our legal process that allows meritless and improper lawsuits to be dismissed at the earliest possible time."

The plaintiff still has a right to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court, but hopefully this decision ends the matter. 

You can read the 8th US. Circuit Court opinion here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bill would prevent pro-life groups from practicing their beliefs

Sacramento, CA—Legislation now making its way through the California Legislature could have the startling effect of preventing pro-life schools, organizations, and even churches from practicing what they preach.

AB 569 by Assembly member Gonzales-Fletcher (D-San Diego) claims that reproductive choices—such as abortion—should be no concern of religious employers.  The sweeping legislation would therefore require employers—with no listed exceptions—to drop all expectations that employees respect the sanctity of life in their own lives.  Thus, a Christian school that teaches life begins at conception or a pro-life advocacy organization would be expected under the new rules to ignore employee conduct that contradicts those stated beliefs.

The Pacific Justice Institute – Center for Public Policy (PJI-CPP) is sending a detailed opposition letter to legislators today.  The next key hearing for AB 569 is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  PJI has also prepared an analysis of the bill in question-and-answer format and contact information for all committee members who are expected to consider and vote on the bill.  PJI-CPP strongly encourages citizens, church leaders, schools, and pro-life advocates to begin making phone calls to legislative offices in advance of next week’s hearing.  

Brad Dacus, the president of PJI-CPP and frequent FOT guest, commented, “This latest attempt by our Legislature to strangle voices of conscience is unjust and unconstitutional.  There is no true religious freedom without the freedom to put faith into practice, both as an individual and as a religious community.”

Anti-therapy bill killed in Colorado with help from Conservative groups

A bill that would deny needed therapy for children who were sexually molested or had unwanted homosexual or transgender psychological issues was derailed in the Colorado Legislature -- after MassResistance Colorado and other groups gave strong, hard-hitting pro-family testimony.
The failed Colorado bill, H17-1156, is part of a big push by the radical LGBT lobby in state legislatures across the country.
The bill would have denied parents the right to seek licensed therapists to help their children deal with unwanted homosexual and transgender issues. But it would have allowed children to receive therapy that would provide “acceptance and support” for such behaviors. It would also allow therapy to assist a child “undergoing gender transition.” (Text of bill.)
The bill had already passed the Colorado House of Representatives by 38-26 on March 7, 2017. It had been sent to the Senate’s State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee before going to the Senate Floor. On March 22, 2017, the Committee conducted a public hearing on the bill, to be followed by a vote on it by the Committee members.
At the hearing, dozens of seasoned LGBT activists filled the hearing room and signed up to testify. It included the usual anger, emotion, misinformation, junk science and hysteria against the very idea of allowing children help in dealing with these issues. Parents were portrayed as unqualified to decide for their own children because they might be “heterosexist” or “heteronormative” – or just plain "bigoted" and ignorant. All kinds of bizarre and unproven stories about how so-called “conversion therapy” causes suicide and depression were offered as fact.
However, a handful of unflinching pro-family people from MassResistance Colorado, Colorado Family Action, and other groups, came and stepped up to the plate and told the truth. They talked about how schools (in concert with radical groups) are making horrible pornography available to kids to help make them addicted to these thoughts. The pro-family testimony exposed the agenda of the LGBT movement, which aims to take away parents’ constitutional rights to help their own children. One woman testified about her own experience being sexually molested as a 6-year-old, and how devastating it would be not to have professional help dealing with the terrible feelings and desires that came from that.