Sunday, June 30, 2013

And we wonder why we are losing: USCCB official is campaign treasurer of pro-abortion senator who defeated a pro-life incumbent and filibustered against Texas pro-life legislation

Ralph McCloud, director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an arm of the U. S. Conference for Catholic Bishops, was the campaign treasurer for Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who recently carried out an eleven-hour filibuster against a pro-life bill in the state legislature. McCloud served as Davis’ campaign treasurer in 2008 when she defeated a pro-life incumbent. 

McCloud has claimed that he was not aware of Davis’ position on abortion and that his role on the campaign was minimal. However, Davis’ stance on abortion was clear during the election. Her campaign was strongly backed by Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion PAC Annie’s List raised hundreds of thousands of dollars on her behalf while McCloud was her treasurer.
The Campaign for Human Development has been long criticized for funding many groups that advocate abortion, so-called same-sex marriage, and contraception.  A number of pro-life bloggers have been calling for McCloud’s ouster. We join them today. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Guest right in her prediction: Hobby Lobby wins in 10th Circuit

Adele Keim, legal counsel with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberties, told our Faith On Trial audience on May 13 that she was optimistic that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals was likely to uphold Hobby Lobby’s argument that the contraception mandate (HHS mandate) contained in Obamacare violates its religious liberties.

Her optimism, she said, was due to the fact that the appeals court would hear the case en banc, that is by the whole court, rather than the usual panel of three judges. The district court had rejected Hobby Lobby’s claim.
Thursday her optimism was justified when the full Tenth Circuit granted a major victory to Hobby Lobby by reversing the district court’s ruling. The circuit court returned the case to the lower court with instruction to consider whether to grant Hobby Lobby a preliminary injunction. Hobby Lobby has “established a likelihood of success” and so does not have to pay fines for refusing to comply with the mandate as the case proceeds, the court ruled.

“We hold that Hobby Lobby and Mardel [a companion business] are entitled to bring claims under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act], have established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm,” the court said in its ruling.
The Obama Administration had asked the court to dismiss the case on the theory that Hobby Lobby was almost certain to lose. “Even if there were a substantial burden on religious exercise, the regulations serve compelling governmental interests and are the least restrictive means to achieve those interests,” the administration argued.

“Today marks a milestone in Hobby Lobby’s fight for religious liberty,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund. “This is a tremendous victory not only for the Green family [Hobby Lobby owners] and for their business, but also for many other religious business owners who should not have to forfeit their faith to make a living.”
Hobby Lobby is the largest business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate. The Green family’s religious convictions prohibit them from providing or paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, the “morning-after” and “week-after” pills, which would violate their deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception.

There are now 60 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate. The Becket Fund currently represents: Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Ave Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Florida Federal judge bans enforcement of HHS mandate

A federal judge in Florida has issued a preliminary injunction banning enforcement of the HHS Mandate.  The motion was filed by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) on behalf of Plaintiffs Thomas R. Beckwith and his family’s company, Beckwith Electric.

The Government claimed that once a business owner chooses to enter into the marketplace or incorporate his business, he surrenders his right to exercise his religious beliefs. However, Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich’s 37-page decision ended with a powerful statement on religious freedom:

 “The First Amendment, and its statutory corollary the RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), endow upon the citizens of the United States the unalienable right to exercise religion, and that right is not relinquished by efforts to engage in free enterprise under the corporate form. No legislative, executive, or judicial officer shall corrupt the Framers' initial expression, through their enactment of laws, enforcement of those laws, or more importantly, their interpretation of those laws. And any action that debases, or cheapens, the intrinsic value of the tenet of religious tolerance that is entrenched in the Constitution cannot stand.” (Emphasis added) 
Erin Mersino, last week’s guest on Faith on Trail on Iowa Catholic Radio, was TMLC’s lead attorney, and commented, “Tom Beckwith was fighting the Federal Government for the freedom to practice his Southern Baptist faith.  The HHS Mandate would have forced him to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in violation of his religious beliefs or face up to $6 million in annual penalties. Kovachevich’s ruling halts enforcement of the HHS mandate until a final decision is reached in this case.”
The Attorney General of the State of Florida filed a friend of the court brief in support of the Thomas More Law Center, as did several other Christian organizations, including the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Next on Faith on Trial: This week’s marriage cases, the Supreme Court, and forced cross dressing as a public school project

The Supreme Court has weighed-in on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, which was adopted by the state’s votes to protect traditional marriage. This week’s program we will have an analysis of each of those decisions by Brad Dacus, president and chief counsel for the Pacific Justice Institute.  We will also have a discussion of the affects of the same-sex marriage movement on the court and society with Mat Staver, chairman and founder of Liberty Counsel.

Mat will also discuss with us the case of a student in Winston-Salem, North Carolina who is being forced by his school to cross-dress for 24 hours as part of a class assignment to consider what it takes to change gender.  The student and his parents appealed to the school administration to be excused from the assignment and were turned down. Mat and Liberty Counsel is now on that case.
Tune in this weekend: Saturday at 8 a.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m.; and Monday at 9 p.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 and 94.5 FM or for those out of our broadcast area, you can listen on

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Court gives Montana Jesus statue a blessing

On Monday a federal district court in Montana dismissed a lawsuit by Freedom From Religion Foundation seeking to force the U.S. Forest Service to remove a privately designed and maintained monument to soldiers who gave their lives in World War II. Freedom From Religion Foundation argued that the 60-year-old monument—which stands in the middle of Big Mountain ski resort in Whitefish, Montana—could not be displayed on government-owned land. District Court Judge Dana Christensen, who was appointed in 2011 by President Obama, rejected these arguments and held that the monument did not violate church-state separation.

“We still don’t know if a tree falling in a forest makes a sound. But we can be sure that a lonely Jesus statue standing in a Montana forest doesn’t create an official state religion for the United States,” said Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty who defended the monument in court. “The Court’s common-sense decision today honors our veterans, preserves our Nation’s history, and rejects the idea that all religious symbols must be banished from public property.”
Judge Christensen held that “Unquestionably, Big Mountain Jesus is a religious symbol commonly associated with one form of religion. But not every religious symbol runs afoul of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. . . . Big Mountain Jesus is one of the only vestiges that remains of the early days of skiing at Big Mountain, and to many serves as a historical reminder of those bygone days of sack lunches, ungroomed runs, rope tows, t-bars, leather ski boots, and 210 cm. skis.”

Nearly sixty years ago, the Knights of Columbus leased a 25-foot x 25-foot plot of land, which lies within a commercial ski resort, from the United States Forest Service on Big Mountain, to erect a monument honoring fallen soldiers from World War II.
The permit has been renewed every ten years without incident until 2010, when the Freedom from Religion Foundation—a Wisconsin anti-religion organization—threatened the Forest Service claiming the monument violated the United States Constitution. The Forest Service, buckling under pressure from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, initially denied the permit, but reconsidered after significant public outcry. In February, the Freedom from Religion Foundation sued to have the statue permanently removed.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty intervened in federal district court case on behalf of several individual Montanans and the Knights of Columbus to defend a monument to fallen soldiers that includes a statute of Jesus and stands on a public land in a ski resort near Whitefish, Montana. The case was filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, who claimed the monument violated the United States Constitution. The Becket Fund asked the U.S. District Court in Montana to vindicate the constitutional rights of Knights to honor soldiers who have given their lives for our country.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Last week’s guest attorney wins free-speech case for Catholic student

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a victory last week in its lawsuit against teacher Johnson McDowell of Howell High School in Howell, Michigan who had disciplined a student for disagreeing with the teacher’s support of the homosexual agenda. The lead attorney for the Thomas More Law Center, Erin Mersino, was a guest on last week’s Faith on Trial and discussed the case with the program host, Deacon/Attorney Mike Manno.

The Court declared the teacher’s actions in punishing Daniel Glowacki violated his First Amendment rights.  The Court described how the teacher initiated a discussion about homosexuality, wore a purple t-shirt  promoting the homosexual agenda, and spoke in favor of it.  In response, the 16 year-old student stated that homosexuality was against his Catholic beliefs.  The teacher became angry and threw Daniel out of class. 

The teacher tried to blame Daniel and claimed he caused a disturbance.  The teacher’s claims were wholly unsupported by all of the other evidence in the case, including affidavits of students in the classroom and the teacher’s prior statements.  The teacher also tried to argue that Daniel’s religious statement was tantamount to “bullying.”  The Court dismissed that claim as well, holding that Daniel’s speech could not be silenced because the teacher did not like Daniel’s religious beliefs and viewpoint.

The ACLU appeared in the case as amicus and supported Daniel’s position against the teacher.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We did not pick this fight

The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a Fortnight for Freedom from June 21 to July 4 to stand up for religious freedom.  Support them in their efforts to overturn the Obama Administration’s rules that:
·         Forces religious institutions and private businesses to provide coverage for sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs as well as for contraception without regard for the moral or religious objections of those forced to comply.

·         This rule does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, or hospitals.

·         Despite assurances by the Obama Administration that the rule would be modified, no such modification has been made.

·         This is not a partisan effort by the bishops, as some have claimed.  The Church has been clear on these issues for centuries, it is Obama and his ilk that are intruding into the religious beliefs and practices of the Church and those who follow its teachings.
Religious freedom has been infringed upon in other areas as well:
·         In CLS v. Martinez the court upheld the right of the University of California Hastings College of Law to deny student organization status to a chapter of the Christian Legal Society because it found the group’s adherence to biblical principles concerning sex outside of marriage and gay marriage to be “offensive.” This was the first time the school had ever denied such recognition to any student group.
·         Vanderbilt University forced the school’s Catholic student group off campus because it did not allow non-Catholics to be group leaders, although they could be members.

·         In Vermont, a Catholic couple who own a bed and breakfast was forced to pay over $30,000 when they refused to host a “wedding” for a gay couple. Numerous other small businesses across the nation have faced similar action.

·         In New Jersey the Division of Civil Rights found that a Methodist organization violated a public accommodations law by not allowing a same-sex civil union ceremony on its property.

·         Catholic Charities of Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and affiliates in Illinois had to close adoption services for face civil liability for not placing children in the homes of same-sex couples.

·          A Catholic agency that had for years provided excellent service lost its federal grant to serve victims of human trafficking because it could not comply with a new requirement to facilitate abortions and other morally objectionable procedures for its clients.

·         Health care professionals, especially nurses, face pressure to assist in abortions under threat of losing their jobs and licenses.
And the examples could go on and on.  We cover some of these things on our radio program, but there is never time enough for us to go into detail about each and every attempt to restrict your religious freedom.

Join the bishops and find out what you can do! Check out this web link to the USCCB page.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

PlanB, student free speech, HHS mandate on this week’s program

On our program this week we’ll have Anna Higgins, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, and Erin Mersino, an attorney with the Thomas More Law Center.  This will be Anna’s second guest appearance with us and she will be filling us in on the new PlanB rules soon to be adopted by the Obama Administration.  In short, PlanB, the “emergency contraceptive,” also acts as an abortion drug and will be available over-the-counter to anyone, regardless of age.  There are some obvious pitfalls with this and Anna will tell us about them.  Following Anna will be Erin Mersino on a case she won just this week for a 16 year-old who had been disciplined and thrown out of his high school class for disagreeing with his teacher’s support for homosexual marriage.  The case strikes a blow for the First Amendment freedoms for students.  In addition, Erin will also update us on the current status of the HHS mandate litigation in which she is involved.  It will be another interesting program on Faith on Trial this week, so check out times (and website) then check in with us! And don't forget to "Like" us on Facebook.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bill to legalize euthanasia introduced in Quebec

LifeSiteNews is reporting that a bill has been introduced in the Quebec legislature that would legalize euthanasia throughout the province as “medical aid in dying.” It would allow those with “an incurable serious illness” to be killed by doctors.

This comes on the heels of a poll that found 63 percent of Canadians would support a law allowing physician-assisted suicide in Canada while 55 percent would support legalizing euthanasia. These numbers have dropped over the last few years.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Parents’ suffering is now reason to kill dying babies

The Netherlands has now ruled that the distress of parents allows for the euthanasia (murder) of handicapped or dying children. You read that correctly.  Babies can now be killed because of the suffering of their parents! reports that the new policy document by the Royal Dutch Medical Association states that the reasons for euthanizing (murdering) newborns are as follows: if the child is suffering, if it cannot express its own wishes, if death is inevitable and if the dying process is prolonged, then the child may be euthanized and spare the parents further severe suffering.

The full story on the Mercatornet website can be found by following this link.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scottish adoption agency may be closed over ban of same-sex adoptions

A Catholic adoption agency is being threatened with closure after the Scottish government’s charity regulator has found its practice of adopting only to mothers and fathers who have been married for at least two years is illegal. The government says that the policy of St. Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow violates the law and is unlawfully discriminates against same-sex couples.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On our program this week …

Erik Stanley from the Alliance Defending Freedom will discuss some of the legal problems facing the Church today.  As you know, the intrusion of government and the courts into Church affairs are placing some of our cherished freedoms at risk, and Erik will discuss those issues with us.  Also on the program will be Gabrielle Speech, managing editor of The Public Discourse, an internet publication of the Witherspoon Institute.  Gabby will be reporting on some of the pending changes in New York’s abortion laws and how they may affect us.  Tune in: Saturday at 8 a.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m.; and Monday at 9 p.m. All on 1150 AM and 88.5 or 94.5 FM and streaming live on

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Birth control pills eyed as factor in 23 women’s deaths

CBC News in Canada reports that at least 23 Canadian women who were taking two of the most commonly prescribed birth control pills have died. The report said, “According to documents obtained from Health Canada, doctors and pharmacists say Yaz and Yasmin are suspected in the deaths of the women, who mostly died suddenly from blood clots.”

In 2011, Health Canada issued a warning about Yaz and Yasmin, saying the risk of blood clots, is 1.5 to 3 times higher with the drospirenone-containing pills – which are contained in the subject drugs – than with other birth control pills. According to the report, normally one in 10,000 women on older birth control pills will develop blood clots, but as many as three in 10,000 will develop clots on Yaz or Yasmin.
Records from Health Canada indicate that between 2007 and February 2013, there have been 600 reported adverse reactions and 23 deaths involving Yaz or Yasmin. The youngest victim was only 14. Bayer, manufacturer of the drugs, says it stands by its product.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Obama administration okays abortion pill for girls of all ages

The Obama administration is dropping a legal challenge to a judge’s order and will allow sale of the Plan B One Step “morning after pill” over the counter. Any minor girl who has reached the age of fertility – possibly 11 years old or younger – will be able to purchase the drug without a prescription or parental notification. This ends a multi-year effort by pro-abortion lobbyists to make the potentially abortifcient pill readily available.

Earlier a federal district court judge had ruled that the morning after pill must be made available over-the-counter to girls of all ages. The administration appealed the ruling, while lowering the age girls may purchase the abortion-inducing drug to 15. In 2011, Obama had suggested that restricting Plan B to those 17 years old and older was "common sense."
Some questioned what motivated the administration's half-hearted appeal of the judge's decision in the first place. “We can’t help but wonder why the Obama administration is suddenly concerned with women’s health, when every other move it has made has been in favor of unrestricted abortion and contraception – even going so far as to force those with religious and moral objections to pay for them,” said Father Shenan Boquet, the president of Human Life International, according to LifeSiteNews.

Monday, June 10, 2013

ADF and FPC file suit over forced, botched abortion

The Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Policy Council of West Virginia have filed suit against the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia and its abortionist, Rodney Lee Stephens, on behalf of a woman, Itai Gravely, who claims Stephens forced her to proceed with an abortion against her will and then left her baby’s head in her womb.

The suit alleges that Gravely changed her mind before the abortion process began when the clinic could not provide her with adequate anesthesia. Ignoring her pain and instructions to not begin the abortion procedure, Stephens directed employees to physically restrain Gravely and proceeded with the abortion, according to the suit.
Shortly thereafter, the lawsuit claims, Stephens announced that he was finished and sent Gravely home where she continued to experience severe pain and heavy bleeding. When she called Women’s Health Center and said she could not drive and was in too much pain to take public transportation, the center declined to assist her, she says. Gravely then called an ambulance and was taken to the emergency room of a hospital  where she learned that the abortionist had left parts of the unborn child--including the baby’s head--in her womb.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reprimand given to soldier celebrating promotion with Chick-fil-A

LifeSiteNews is reporting that a U. S. servicemember has been reprimanded for serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party to celebrate his promotion to master sergeant. LifeSite reports, “The unidentified soldier was investigated, reprimanded, threatened with judicial action, and given a bad efficiency report after sending invitations that read, ‘In honor of my promotion and in honor of the Defense of Marriage Act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at my promotion party,’ according to the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.”

“They say he is no longer a team player and was not performing up to standards,” Chaplain Alliance Executive Director Col. Ron Crews (USAR retired) told Fox News, “They say he is no longer a team player and was not performing up to standards.” The promotion coincided with the controversy over Chick-fil-A CEO’s comments supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights advocates called for boycotts of the franchise and some public officials threatened to deny the company permits to do business in their local jurisdictions. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

This week: Will homosexual mentors be required of youth groups?

This week our friend Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) will discuss a proposed new law that will strip the tax exempt status of youth ministries that do not include adult homosexual mentors. This comes on the heels of another law, which PJI has obtained an injunction against, that requires licensed youth counselors to affirm the gay lifestyle for young people who are struggling with gender identity questions. We’re also going to have Roger Byron of the Liberty Institute who will discuss the possible legal fall-out from the recent decision by the Boy Scouts to admit openly gay boys.  Join us this weekend, Saturday at 8 a.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m., and Monday at 9 p.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 FM or 94.5 FM and streaming live on

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Texas school district appeals cheerleader case

After losing its case against their own high school cheerleaders, the Kountze, Texas school district is appealing. On May 8, 2013, a district court issued an order granting the Kountze cheerleaders permission to display run-through banners with bible messages at sporting events. That order ended a seven-month stretch of intense and heated litigation between the cheerleaders and the school district that drew national attention. LibertyInstitute and David Starnes represent the cheerleaders and their parents.

“It is unfortunate that [the school district] keeps spending taxpayer money fighting against the speech rights of these cheerleaders,” said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute.  “I do not understand why the school district cannot simply accept that it lost and move on instead of continuing to fight against these cheerleaders who simply wanted to encourage the players with uplifting messages.”

Monday, June 3, 2013

Terrorism Task Force investigates crisis pregnancy centers

The FBI has announced its intention to investigate a chain of crisis pregnancy centers in conjunction with the Joint Domestic Terrorism Task Force.  Chris Slattery, national director of Expectant Mother Care Front Line Pregnancy Centers has been “invited” to meet with the task force.  This appears to be part of a nationwide effort to intimidate pro-life organizations.  If you recall, back in 2009 Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Nepolitano, claimed that opponents of abortion are likely to engage in extremist activities.  Since then there has been long history of federal intimidation of pro-life activists.  For example, Susan Pine was harassed by the federal government for protesting outside a Florida abortion clinic.  The feds went so far as to file federal criminal charges against her.  The persecution of Ms. Pine lasted two years and was so extreme that a federal court ordered the Justice Department to pay Ms. Pine over $120,000 in attorney fees after she was acquitted.