Monday, March 2, 2015

Guess what the IRS wants to know during a ‘random’ audit of a faith-based non-profit law firm? Next on FOT

Robert Tyler
Advocates for Faith & Freedom is a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty in the courts. Its mission is to engage in cases that will uphold our religious liberty and America’s heritage and to educate Americans about our fundamental constitutional rights.  Attorneys with Advocates have often appeared as guests on FOT.

Recently, Advocates were informed by the IRS that it was performing a “random” audit of the firm for 2012. In wake of the recent abuses of the IRS targeting many conservative groups around the country, and being well aware of the overreaching attempts made by the government to intimidate and stop conservative groups in the past, Advocates refused to let anything stand in the way of fighting for your right to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yet the IRS requested lists of their 2012 donors, volunteers, newsletters, and financial records. 2012 just so happened to be the year Advocates argued in the Ninth Circuit in defense of Proposition 8, California’s marriage initiative, as well as the year we hosted a controversial figure, Dinesh DiSouza, to speak at the group’s Justice Gala.

The IRS also asked that the board of directors to adopt a new policy by which it would discontinue sending our supporters links to places they can find Christian-based voter guides that explain where candidates stand on various issues.
Todd Erzen
Tuesday Advocates president and general counsel Robert H. Tyler will be our guest on FOT to discuss this issue with Deacon Mike Manno and co-host Gina Noll and he will tell our listeners what answer he gave to the IRS.

Robert has been featured in American Lawyer and has been published in The Daily Journal, as well as a number of other national media. On numerous occasions, Robert has been called on to comment and be interviewed by local, national, and international media outlets. He has been a featured guest on Fox News, MSNBC, TBN, PBS, as well as Faith On Trial.
Also joining us Tuesday will be our monthly visit with our media analyst Todd Erzen, formerly with the Des Moines Register.

Join Deacon Mike and Gina for a lively discussion at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com.  Faith On Trial is sponsored by Attorney Rick McConville of Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC, 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 453-1055 and Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines, where there is entertainment in the tap room every Thursday.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America; a 400 page report from Liberty Institute: It’s author is next on FOT

The Liberty Institute, one of America’s leading defenders of religious rights has just published its 2014 edition of Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America. The nearly 400 page report catalogs a 133% increase in attacks on religious freedom in our nation since the Institute’s first survey three years ago.


Justin Butterfield  
Editor-in-chief of the report, Justin Butterfield, senior counsel and Director of Research and Education for Liberty Institute, will be our guest on Faith On Trial Tuesday.  

Justin graduated from Harvard Law School where he served as the student coordinator for the Veritas Forum, was a member of the Federalist Society, and was heavily involved with the Harvard Law School Christian Fellowship. He is also a Blackstone Fellow. A native Texan, Mr. Butterfield completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at El Paso where he graduated summa cum laude, with honors, and University Banner Bearer with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. 

In addition to his practice in the area of religious liberty, Mr. Butterfield co-authored two scholarly articles: “The Light of Accountability: Why Partisan Elections Are the Best Method of Judicial Selection,” published in The Advocate, and “The Parsonage Exemption Deserves Broad Protection,” published in the Texas Review of Law & Politics. 

In addition to his practice in the area of religious liberty, Mr. Butterfield co-authored two scholarly articles: “The Light of Accountability: Why Partisan Elections Are the Best Method of Judicial Selection,” published in The Advocate, and “The Parsonage Exemption Deserves Broad Protection,” published in the Texas Review of Law & Politics. 

Undeniable is a free download and may be found here.  

Faith On Trial is broadcast every Tuesday at 9 a.m. and rebroadcast at 9 p.m. (when not pre-empted by Dowling Catholic Basketball) on Iowa Catholic Radio, KWKY 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. 

Faith On Trial is underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville of Coppola McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC, 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa 515-453-1055 and Confluence Brewing Company, just off the bike trail south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines. 

Join Deacon Mike Manno and co-host Gina Noll this week for what should be a lively discussion of hostility to religion and people of faith.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Can judges be forced to perform gay marriages? Can they be jailed if they refuse? Next FOT

Harry Mihet
Cases from Alabama and North Carolina raise the question as to how far a federal court can go in ordering state judges to perform so-called same sex marriage.  In at least one state some magistrates are being threatened with jail if they refuse.

Discussing these matters with Deacon Mike Manno and co-host Gina Noll on Tuesday will be senior litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel Harry Mihet. Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. The purpose of this ministry is to preserve religious liberty and help create and maintain a society in which everyone will have the opportunity to discover the truth that will give true freedom.

Faith On Trial is broadcast every Tuesday morning at 9 (CST) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming live on IowaCatholicRadio.com. The probram is re-broadcast at 9 p.m. when not pre-empted by Dowling Catholic basketball.

Faith On Trial is underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville of Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055 and Confluence Brewing Company just off the Bike Trail south of Grey’s Lake at 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines, where there is live music in the taproom every Thursday.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Why was teacher awarded $2 million against the Church for “hurt feelings”?

Pat Smith
Last year a federal district court jury awarded a former Catholic school teacher nearly $2 million over “hurt feelings.” Apparently, her feelings were hurt when her contract was not renewed due to her violation of Church teaching.  She engaged in vitro fertilization after being warned that it was against Church teaching and violated her contract. When she continued with the IVF treatment, despite the warnings, she was allowed to work out her contract, but the contract was not renewed.

The teacher sued and the jury awarded her nearly $2 million.  Tuesday we will dissect the case with a local labor lawyer, Pat Smith, a parishioner at St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines.  
After that discussion we’ll make our monthly visit with our media critic, Todd Erzen, about how the mainstream media is covering the major religious issues of the day.

Todd Erzen
Join Deacon Mike Manno and co-host Gina Noll for a lively discussion of our religious freedoms every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (CST) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. The program is re-broadcast at 9 p.m. except when pre-empted by Dowling Catholic basketball.
Faith On Trial is sponsored by Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 453-1055 and Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is live music in the taproom every Thursday evening.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

District of Columbia mayor signs coercive bills damaging religious freedom of D.C. Catholic schools and colleges

By Kimberly Scharfenberger 


The first bill, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, could coerce religious organizations to work with and hire those in favor of abortion and force employers to cover elective abortions in their health plans, regardless of their religious objections.

The second, the Human Rights Amendment Act, repeals an exemption that protected religious schools and universities from approving or funding homosexual advocacy. This new law would effectively force schools to recognize LGBT student groups or advocacy groups on campus.

In October, The Cardinal Newman Society joined The Catholic University of America and the D.C. Catholic Conference in warning the D.C. City Council that such a bill would violate the religious freedom of Catholic schools and universities.

According to the Council’s interpretation, the exemption allowed “religiously-affiliated educational institutions to discriminate based on sexual orientation.” However, the exemption gave Catholic schools the ability to uphold their religious beliefs for the past 25 years and was not problematic, argued Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

In a column published in The Wall Street Journal, Reilly went on to note that the Council’s decision “has the appearance of an attack on traditional religious teachings on sexuality, rather than any substantial victory for gay rights.” He stressed that the “narrow exemption was never intended to hinder human rights, but to put a stop to the unreasonable demands of city officials.”

“It remains for Catholic families and educators to preserve faithful Catholic education, even at great cost,” Reilly stated in December concerning the Human Rights Amendment Act. “If America is no longer the land of the free, then at least we must remain brave enough to live and teach our beliefs without compromise while challenging unjust laws.”

Congress still has the ability to state its objection to the bills and protect the rights of D.C. residents. This action would then require both the House and Senate to pass a resolution, as well as the President’s signature, in order to overturn the new D.C. laws.

Originally published by Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Documentary "One Generation Away" special showing Monday at Christ the King Catholic Church, Des Moines, Iowa

Monday evening at 7 p.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church in Des Moines there will be a special showing of the new documentary “One Generation Away.” The event is free and open to the public.

One Generation Away is a fast-paced film that travels the United States (and Europe) in search of a deeper understanding of the religious freedom clauses in the Constitution's First Amendment. From Hobby Lobby to the Mt. Soledad Cross in San Diego to wedding service providers in the Northwest, One Generation Away asks hard questions about the status of religious liberty in America today. The film includes leading voices on both sides of the issue. One Generation Away discovers that our “first freedom”—religious liberty—is one that demands attention at this critical point in American history.
Your free ticket for the movie can be downloaded here, however the sponsors of the movie say a ticket is not necessary to enter but only gives them a idea of how many to expect. They are planning on refreshments.

Last Tuesday our movie reviewer Stephanie Crowley gave the movie a big thumbs up and this Tuesday we’ll be continuing our discussion on the issues raised in the film.
For more information on the movie itself, and to see the trailer, go here.

Christ the King is located at 5711 SW 9th Street, Des Moines.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” 
 
-- Ronald Reagan

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.