Monday, October 3, 2016

Alinsky film producers are this week’s guests on FOT

The past few weeks, Facebook and other social media were abuzz over the new film about socialist community organizer Saul Alinsky, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (trailer below), which appeared on EWTN. The film outlines Alinsky’s career and how he and his followers have crafted political organizations that have succeeded in infiltrating the Church as well as the body politic and how those organizations have affected these institutions.

According to The Free Republic, the film answers the following: “Why is political discourse so bad right now? How have Christian beliefs, particularly Catholic beliefs, and those who hold them come to be reviled by so many in the secular culture? Where did political correctness, gender conflict, gender confusion — and so many other aspects of the Culture of Death — come from?” (Read the entire review here.)

(The film is now available for sale digitally for $14.99 and rental for $4.99 USD at Stream the film wherever you go, watch it on TV via the Vimeo app on iOS, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast, mobile, or tablet. Download DRM-free SD, HD mobile files and watch the film anywhere and anytime. #alinskyfilm)

Tuesday, the producers of the film, Richard and Stephen Payne of Arcadia Films, will join Deacon Mike Manno and Stephanie Crowley to discuss the film and the message it delivers. So join Deacon Mike and Stephanie (sitting in for Gina Noll) for an interesting discussion at 9 a.m. (central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM, and streaming on The program will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m. and can be heard on the Iowa Catholic Radio App which can easily be downloaded to your device. Additionally, past programs, including our September 20, 2016 program with Stephanie Block, a consultant and contributor to the film, and our September 13, 2016 program with Lisa Bourne of LifeSiteNews on the influence of socialist George Soros and how it mirrors the Alinsky model at our web page here.

That’s Tuesday at 9 & 9; on the internet or via app. Don’t miss this program.

Faith On Trial is on the air courtesy of our loyal sponsors and underwriters: AttorneyRick 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 where there is live entertainment in the tap room every Thursday.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Religious schools and educators ask Supreme Court to protect First Amendment rights in transgender debate

Eight religious colleges, societies, and professors file amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. 

Washington, DC – First Liberty Institute filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday on behalf of religious educational institutions and educators, asking the Court to review the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. Religious educators believe the outcome of this case will determine the future of religious freedom for faith-based schools and colleges nationwide.

On Jan. 7, 2015, a mid-level official at the U.S. Department of Education sent an informal, private letter to a transgender high school student in the Gloucester County School District. The letter said that because Title IX requires schools to offer equal-quality facilities to both sexes, schools must allow students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of whichever sex they identify with, or else the school could lose its federal education dollars.

The issue was brought before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit where a sharply divided panel voted 2-1 that the unpublished letter has the force of law and should be applied to all schools in the nation. 

“No one has the authority to say that a letter written by an unelected government agent is now the law of the land,” Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, says. “Federal law says that at the very least, agencies must go through a process of public notice and comment to allow concerned citizens to weigh in.” 

As a result of the court ruling, faith-based schools could be stripped of their Title IX federal funding unless they adopt the new policies, even if the policies violate their religious beliefs.

Shackelford continues, “The First Amendment clearly protects the right of faith-based schools and educators to voice their concerns before the government strips away their benefits, and even then penalizing them for their faith would still be against the law.” 

The signatories on the brief include:
      ·      The Cardinal Newman Society

·      John Paul the Great Catholic University

·      Thomas Aquinas College

·      The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

·      Wyoming Catholic College

·      Ignatius Angelicum Liberal Studies Program

·      Dr. Byron R. Johnson, Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR), Baylor University

·      National Catholic Bioethics Center 

“This yet another example of our government circumventing the Constitution, violating federal law, and stifling religious freedom,” Shackelford says. “We hope the Supreme Court will uphold the rights of these educators to participate in public debate regarding this sensitive issue.” 

About First Liberty Institute 

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans. 

Judgment entered against county sheriffs for violating Christians’ free speech

Today, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered final judgment in favor of a group of Christian evangelists who were violently attacked by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at the Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan in 2012. 
The case, Bible Believers v. Wayne County, was brought by the American Freedom Law Center on behalf of the Christians.  As a result of this judgment, Wayne County agreed to pay $197,500 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
This judgment brings to a conclusion the lengthy and hard fought litigation in this matter—litigation which included a full court (en banc) review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
On October 28, 2015, a majority of the full court of the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of the Christians.  The en banc court completely reversed a lower court decision which ruled in favor of Wayne County and officials from the County Sheriff’s Office who silenced the Christians’ speech in response to the hostile mob’s reaction.
In its decision, which was made final today by the entry of judgment in the district court, the Sixth Circuit ruled, among other things, that two Deputy Chief defendants from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office were liable for violating the Christians’ First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion and for depriving the Christians of the equal protection of the law.  The court ruled that these individual defendants did not enjoy qualified immunity.
This decision was a major victory for the Constitution and for all freedom-loving Americans.  It affirms that the First Amendment protects speech critical of Islam and that when the government seeks to suppress such speech by enforcing a heckler’s veto that favors the violent Muslim mob over the free speech rights of Christians, the government will pay dearly for this egregious violation.
In its opinion, the Sixth Circuit stated, in relevant part:
"The freedom to espouse sincerely held religious, political, or philosophical beliefs, especially in the face of hostile opposition, is too important to our democratic institution for it to be abridged simply due to the hostility of reactionary listeners who may be offended by a speaker’s message.  If the mere possibility of violence were allowed to dictate whether our views, when spoken aloud, are safeguarded by the Constitution, surely the myriad views that animate our discourse would be reduced to the standardization of ideas by the dominant political or community groups.  Democracy cannot survive such a deplorable result.”
In sum, this case is an example where the good form of "lawfare" succeeded in fighting on behalf of and for liberty.  It’s a case where the Constitution was upheld even when the full force of political correctness was operating against it.  Kudos to Judge Clay, the author of the Sixth Circuit's en banc opinion, and the majority of judges who joined him in this important decision.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Next week on FOT: The producers of the Alinskh movie "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"

The producers of the EWTN film “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” about the socialist community organizer Saul Alinsky will be next week’s guest on Faith On Trial. Check out the film at Faith On Trial airs every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on

Christian school sues Florida high school athletic association over refusal to allow prayer over loudspeaker prior to football game

Tampa, Fla. – Cambridge Christian School today filed a federal lawsuit in Tampa against the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) for violating the school’s constitutional rights. Cambridge Christian says the FHSAA refused to allow the school to offer a prayer over the loudspeaker before the Division 2A state championship football game in December 2015.
Read the lawsuit here
In the lawsuit, Cambridge Christian seeks to bring the FHSAA’s existing policies in line with freedom of speech and free exercise of religion rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Florida Constitutions. 
“This is a case about the restriction of a Christian school’s private speech through a policy and practice that discriminates between religious and secular speech,” said Adam Foslid, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig, who along with attorney Eliot Pedrosa, is acting as counsel to the school. “The Constitution requires a government policy of neutrality toward private religious speech – one that neither endorses nor censors such speech.”  
“This is a clear case of governmental interference in a private school’s right to exercise its religious freedom,” said Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to protecting the religious freedoms of all Americans. “Pre-game prayer is not only a long-standing tradition for Cambridge Christian; it is fundamental to its reason for being.” 
Tim Euler, head of Cambridge Christian, said prohibiting pre-game prayer sends the wrong message to his students. “By banning us from praying over the loudspeaker, the FHSAA told our students that prayer is something bad and should be forbidden,” Euler said. “We want our students to know that prayer is good and a fundamental constitutional right that should be defended.” 
Read more about the case at  
About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

What effect does the erosion of marriage have on poverty rates? Next FOT

Joining us Tuesday will be Rachel Sheffield, a policy analysist analyst in the DeVoss Center
Rachel Sheffield
for Religion & Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation
on how the erosion of marriage is driving up poverty in the United States. Rachel’s work at the DeVoss Center
focuses on welfare, marriage and family, and education. She writes regularly on the family, religion and civil society ( for The Foundry, Heritage’s policy blog, and also contributes to news and commentary sites such as The Daily Caller, and National Review Online.

Her work has been cited by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times, among other major media outlets. She appears regularly on radio programs across the country, and also speaks to student groups and audiences on Capitol Hill.

Join Deacon Mike Manno, Gina Noll and Rachel tomorrow at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM; and streaming at where you can find a downloadable phone app and pod casts of our older programs, including last week’s program on Saul Alinsky and the previous week’s program on George Soros. The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m.

As usual we’ll have news and information of interest to people of faith as they try to navigate through today’s increasingly secular society.

Faith On Trial is brought to you courtesy of our underwriters:  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 where there is live entertainment in the tap room every Thursday.

Celebrating the Pro-Life Movement's first legislative victory: Life advocacy groups have opportunity to capitalize on Hyde Amendment's 40th anniversary

CHICAGO, Sept. 26, 2016 -- September 30, 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Hyde Amendment, widely acknowledged as the first legislative victory of the pro-life movement following the 1973 legalization of abortion in America. TC Public Relations is encouraging life advocacy groups to capitalize on this opportunity to build awareness and promote their organizations.

The Hyde Amendment is named after its chief sponsor, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois. The late statesman, known for his eloquent and unwavering defense of life, successfully barred the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortion in most circumstances. Though it has taken various forms and has undergone modifications, to date the Hyde Amendment remains intact – although the 2016 Democratic platform includes an explicit call to repeal it.

Tom Ciesielka, president of TC Public Relations, noted, "The 40th Anniversary of the Hyde Amendment is one that pro-life groups will want to mark publicly for a number of reasons. First, it is a significant milestone, second it is an opportunity for life advocates to recognize an early success that has endured, and – with its first party-wide challenge by Democrats – the defense of the Hyde Amendment may prove crucial at this moment."

Ciesielka offers the following suggestions for pro-life groups to consider when observing the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment:
  • Host an informal Hyde-themed coffee, brunch, or dinner for your board members or core volunteers –take time over a meal to learn the impact of the Hyde Amendment and plan to advocate for its continuation. 
  • Create a series of social media posts for the anniversary week:
    Educate about the Hyde Amendment and its impact (i.e., "Did you know the Hyde Amendment saves 300,000+ babies each year by placing restrictions on federal abortion funding?" or "Celebrate 40 years of the Hyde Amendment: restricting federal funding of abortion").

  • Cite quotes by Henry Hyde, such as, "This is a debate about our understanding of human dignity, what it means to be a member of the human family, even though tiny, powerless and unwanted." (Find more quotes at       
  • Submit an op-ed piece to a local media outlet marking the anniversary and explaining why your community is better because of it.
  • Announce an annual Hyde Life Issues Essay Contest for children – granting awards for a selected piece within each academic range. 
  • Gather outside an abortion clinic and sing spiritual songs, pray, and read aloud Henry Hyde's Plea to Override President Clinton's Veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (taken from the Congressional Record, September 19, 1996) – text found here
  • Add Henry Hyde's book, "Catch the Burning Flag: Speeches and Random Observations," to your staff's reading list and consider gifting a copy to a local library.  
  • Pray for the defeat of any challenge to the Hyde Amendment, including the current Democratic Party platform push to repeal it.
"As pro-life advocates observe this milestone in the movement," added Ciesielka, "It can be a time to look into their own organizational history and the surrounding community to find the landmarks and events worth recognizing in similar ways." Some possible benchmarks might include:

  • The founding date of the organization or birthday of its original organizer 
  • Anniversary of a group success (i.e., closing of a local abortion facility) 
  • A somber recognition of a particularly heinous incident (i.e., a death via botched abortion) or an annual memorial for all local victims 
  • Recognition of a particular accomplishment (largest protest, longest vigil, most churches represented) 
  • Local events, practices, or traditions that celebrate life
                                    About TC Public Relations

TC Public Relations is a Chicago-based firm managing reputations for businesses and nonprofit organizations. President Tom Ciesielka and staff handle media relations, social media strategy, and crisis communications for clients that include attorneys, authors, churches, and social change advocates. Visit