Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Outrageous: Court rules that pro-life clinic must promote abortion!!!

Brad Dacus
Sacramento, CA—A federal court ruled late Monday that a law requiring pro-life pregnancy clinics to promote abortion can go into effect January 1st.

Pacific Justice Institute represents three pregnancy clinics that are challenging the law, AB775, on free speech and free exercise of religion grounds.

In a 59-page order, U.S District Judge, Kimberly Mueller agreed with PJI that the law raised "serious questions" about potential First Amendment violations and would also cause irreparable harm to the clinics.  However, Judge Mueller determined that the interests of the clinics in refusing to promote abortion were outweighed by the interests of the State to ensure women receive information about all their options.

"This ruling should alarm everyone who believes in a robust First Amendment," said Brad Dacus, Pacific Justice president and frequent FOT guest.  "The notion that the government can compel religious non-profits to promote practices antithetical to their values is chilling."

The clinics are evaluating all their legal options, including appeal.

Planned Parenthood and the Maine Attorney General combine to silence Pro-Life speech; Thomas More Law Center files federal lawsuit

The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, today, filed a federal lawsuit against the Maine Attorney General, the City of Portland, Maine and several Portland police officers to stop enforcement of a portion of the Maine Civil Rights Act (“Act”). Under the Act, it is illegal to make any noise that can be heard inside an abortion clinic after being warned by a police officer. A Portland police officer officially warned Pastor Andrew March that employees could hear his anti-abortion message inside their facility and in so doing paved the way for a State lawsuit against him under the Act.
As a result, TMLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of Pastor Andrew March to stop enforcement of the Act as a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech. Pastor March is the father of three children and the founding preacher of a church in Maine. He feels called by God to oppose the culture of death and to work to end the murder of his fellow citizens behind the walls of Planned Parenthood. When the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against his friend and fellow preacher Brian Ingalls under the Act, he took up his mantel and began to preach outside the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. Andrew March not only wants to save lives, but also wants to give women a last chance to avoid the enduring physical and psychological harms caused by abortion.
The Portland Planned Parenthood is located on a busy public thoroughfare, which, in addition to usual street sounds such as sirens, honking, and other traffic noises, hosts city parades and protests by hundreds  of yelling and chanting people. Yet, among this cacophony of sounds, Planned Parenthood claims the lone, unamplified voice of Andrew March interferes with its abortion services.
Planned Parenthood, assisted by the Maine Attorney General and the City of Portland, is using Maine’s Civil Rights Act to silence all Pro-Life speech in front of its facility by claiming to hear it within the building. TMLC’s lawsuit contends that the Act is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech and is being used to target and silence the Pro-Life viewpoint. In fact, amid the far louder traffic and city-approved parades, police officers enforcing the statute admit that it is the Pro-Life content of Andrew March’s speech that allegedly interferes with abortion counseling and procedures within the building.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Thomas More Law Center, commented on the lawsuit: “Our lawsuit is based on the bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment that government, in this case the State of Maine and the City of Portland, cannot ban Pro-Life speech just because they disagree with its content or find it offensive.”
TMLC recently defeated a previous attempt by the same Planned Parenthood facility to silence Pro-Life speech. On Oct. 8, the U.S. District Court in Maine entered a consent judgment in which the City of Portland agreed that their 39-foot “buffer zone” silencing Pro-Life speech within the vicinity of Planned Parenthood was unconstitutional. In light of the City’s defeat, Planned Parenthood and the City of Portland seem to be going through a list of Maine’s laws to intimidate and silence Pro-Life speech. After charging Brian Ingalls and warning Andrew March under the Act, police officers are now threatening Andrew March with criminal charges for disorderly conduct—all this despite the fact that both preach peacefully and respectfully from the Bible.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Good news for the Christmas season: making lemonade from lemons; God gets last word

You probably remember the saga of Richard and Betty Odgaard, owners of the GÓ§rtz Haus Gallery in Grimes, Iowa. For those of you who don’t remember, the Odgaards, they owned a former church building that they had turned into an art gallery that they rented it out for weddings.

Pastor Ryan Jorgenson
A strong Mennonite family, the Odgaards refused to rent their facility for a same-sex ceremony and ultimately were put out of business when the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, supporting the same-sex couple’s false claims (they had already been married in another state, see our earlier post here) effectively put the family out of business.
But God always has the last word. The building was turned back into a church and has now generated a large congregation of largely younger people. To discuss this turn around Tuesday will be Pastor Ryan Jorgenson of the new Harvest Bible Chapel, which has risen from the legal disaster foist upon the Odgaards by the militant homosexual movement and abetted by biased members of the Civil Rights Commission. We’ll hear his story and his special Christmas wish for our listeners. See the Harvest Bible Chapel video below.
We’ll also have our monthly visit from our research associate and movie reviewer Stephanie Crowley with a review of the movie “The Letters” the story of Mother Theresa whom the church has just announced will be canonization by His Holiness Pope Francis.
Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com for a “good news” Christmas edition of Faith On Trial. Unless pre-empted by Dowling Catholic basketball, the program will re-broadcast at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is brought to you 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 Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Physician loses hospital privilege over LGBT warnings

Dr. Church loses final appeal at hospital. Board of Directors upholds physician’s expulsion for telling the truth about high-risk LGBT behavior to colleagues
Dr. Paul Church
The cave-in at the major Boston Harvard-affiliated hospital is complete. The Board of Directors of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has formally notified Dr. Paul Church that they are upholding his expulsion from the hospital and that his medical privileges there are terminated.
His crime? As MassResistance has reported, Dr. Church, a urologist who is also on the Harvard Medical School faculty, voiced concerns to his colleagues about the hospital's aggressive promotion of LGBT activities. He pointed out the long list of serious medical risks -- and also moral issues -- associated with those behaviors.
The hospital never disputed the truth of Dr. Church's statements. Nor did they claim that he ever discussed this with patients or treated them differently. Instead, the hospital took extraordinary steps first to silence him and then to expel him on a ludicrous charge of making "offensive" remarks. Over months of hearings and appeals, the hospital wouldn't relent.
In September Sean Ryan, MassResistance director of communications, was our guest and told our listeners the Dr. Church story. See our earlier post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Court allows lawsuit of unjustly fired fire chief to go forward against city of Atlanta

ATLANTA – A federal court ruled Wednesday that an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit filed on behalf of former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran will go forward against the city for unjustly firing him because of his religious beliefs. While the court agreed to dismiss some claims, the court is allowing the lawsuit to go forward on Cochran’s primary claims of retaliation, discrimination based on his viewpoint, and the violation of his constitutionally protected freedoms of religion, association, and due process (firing without following proper procedure).

At oral arguments in October before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Cochran v. City of Atlanta, ADF argued that the city’s arguments themselves confirm Cochran’s claim that the city fired him for holding and expressing religious beliefs city officials didn’t like.
“A religious or ideological test cannot be used to fire a public servant, but the city did exactly that, as the evidence and facts of this case clearly demonstrate,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot, who argued before the court. “We look forward to proceeding with this case because of the injustice against Chief Cochran, one of the most accomplished fire chiefs in the nation, but also because the city’s actions place every city employee in jeopardy who may hold to a belief that city officials don’t like.”
“Tolerance must apply to people of different viewpoints, not just those who agree with the beliefs the government prefers,” added ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Americans don’t surrender their constitutionally protected freedoms when they become public servants.”
After activists who don’t agree with Cochran’s Christian views on sex and marriage complained about a brief mention of the topics in a 162-page book Cochran had written on his personal time, Mayor Kasim Reed suspended Cochran for 30 days without pay and announced that he would have to complete “sensitivity training.” Reed then fired him, even though a city investigation concluded that he did not discriminate against anyone. Public statements Reed and City Councilman Alex Wan made late last year confirm the truth about why the city fired Cochran.
“I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs and is inconsistent with the administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all citizens…,” Reed said in November of last year to explain why he suspended Cochran.
That same month, Wan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I respect each individual’s right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions, but when you’re a city employee and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door.”
Reed recounted in his 2014 State of the City Address that he “begged” Cochran to return to Atlanta in 2010 from his job as U.S. fire administrator in the Obama administration. Cochran agreed, and the city council confirmed him to serve a second time as the city’s fire chief, a job Cochran originally held from 2008 to 2009.
In 2012, Fire Chief Magazine named Cochran “Fire Chief of the Year.” In a city news release issued about the award, Reed thanked Cochran for his “pioneering efforts to improve performance and service within the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department,” applauded “Chief Cochran and all of Atlanta’s brave firefighters for the commitment to excellence shown throughout the department,” and recognized that Cochran’s “national recognition” as Fire Chief of the Year was “much-deserved.” 

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christian Legal Ethics … “too religious” for Texas Bar Association

So what is wrong with teaching lawyers Christian legal ethics? Everything, says the State Bar of Texas; the course is “too religious”, says that distinguished body, composed of representatives of one of the most maligned and perhaps ethically challenged professions in the nation.
Professor William Piatt
Last October St. Mary’s University School of Law, along with the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild of San Antonio, and the Christian Legal Society of San Antonio, sponsored a continuing legal program entitled “Christian Ethical Perspectives: Faith and Law Today.” The program was given a one-time provisional accreditation by the Texas Bar. However, the Bar has now informed sponsors that it will receive future accreditation only for those portions of the program devoted to secular law and legal ethics.
That, of course, didn’t sit well with the sponsors who have appealed the non-accreditation decision. Joining Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll this week will be St. Mary’s Law Professor William Piatt who told the Cardinal Newman Society that the Bar is going out of its way “to make it impossible for Catholics to put on a continuing legal education program that says anything about faith or morality.”
Professor Piatt specializes in constitutional law and jurisprudence with a focus on Catholic perspectives. Prior to joining the St. Mary’s law faculty he served as the assistant attorney general in New Mexico and later as assistant public defender. He also created the first-in-the-nation Center for Terrorism Law.
Join Deacon Mike and Gina Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming live on IowaCatholicRadio.com. Unless pre-empted by Dowling Catholic basketball, the program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is sponsored by 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 Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thomas More Society on winning the “war on Christmas”

Thomas More Society defends private rights to freely
express religious belief in public squares

This Christmas Season, Thomas More Society continues to fight for freedom of religious

speech and the free exercise of religious faith in the public square. As legal counsel for the American Nativity Scene Committee (ANSC) and local private groups around the country, the Society defends these rights and also equips Americans to display nativity scenes in their State Capitols and in other public venues that qualify as traditional and designated public forums. This year, along with ANSC, Thomas More Society is co-sponsoring nativity displays – which have been donated by an anonymous benefactor – in the State Capitols of Illinois, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Georgia, and Texas, and at the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma.  Efforts continue to secure permits for such displays elsewhere around the nation.

The nativity displays represent classic free speech and free exercise of religious faith by private citizens in the public square. These displays, however, have not gone up without controversy.

“Atheist groups may mock our message, but we will not be silent as it is critical that Christians proclaim the Gospel message to their fellow citizens,” said Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society president and chief counsel. “Anti-Christian, anti-Christmas rhetoric and Satanic expositions merely serve to provide sharp emphasis by means of their stark contrast with the positive, uplifting, hopeful and joyous message of Christmas – a message that bears secular as well as religious significance, as it highlights the hope and miracle of birth and new life, the inherent dignity of each and every human being, focusing our attention on the humble and lowly infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger amidst straw and animals, honored by shepherds and kings alike, and heralded by choirs of angels.  That message of the essential equality and dignity of all human beings, no matter how rich or poor, humble or high-stationed, resonates deeply with the values that Americans cherish.”

Last Christmas, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and ACLU tried to force Franklin County in Indiana to dismantle the privately funded and privately sponsored Nativity Scene that has been displayed on its courthouse lawn (in addition to other private displays set up there from time to time throughout the year) every Christmas for over fifty years. Thomas More Society defeated FFRF and ACLU in federal court in Indianapolis, where the court rebuffed the atheist groups’ legally baseless claim that this private display was an “establishment of religion by the government.”  On the contrary, the court ruled that the Christian citizens had a right to display a Nativity Scene on their local Courthouse lawn, which qualified as a “designated public forum.”

This controversy is not a new.  Almost thirty years ago, a lawsuit had to be filed to protect the Nativity Scene (and to prevent physical destruction of the statues) on Daley Plaza in Chicago, when city and county officials tried to suppress the right of Christians to express their religious faith in that traditional public forum, where political rallies ethnic celebrations and other cultural events have been regularly staged.  A private attorney, Jennifer Neubauer, had to file suit and persuade the late Chief U.S. District Judge James B. Parsons to enter a permanent injunction, enjoining the authorities from this “discrimination” against religious expression on Daley Plaza.

“The nativity displays represent a constitutionally protected expression by private citizens in traditional or designated public forums, where the sole role of the government is that of a viewpoint-neutral gatekeeper assuring open access for all citizens to have their ‘say,’” added Brejcha. “If the First Amendment entitles you to get up on your soapbox and plead for a candidate or advocate a political point of view in a public forum, then equally you may get on the soapbox and proclaim the joyous, hopeful message of the Christ Child!” 

About the Thomas More Society: 

Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.

About the American Nativity Scene Committee:

The American Nativity Scene Committee is dedicated to the display of Nativity Scenes in every State Capitol throughout the United States during the Christmas season. The Committee ships nativity scenes (donated by a very generous anonymous benefactor) to private citizens all over the U.S. who wish to bear witness to the true meaning of Christmas by securing permits (with the Society’s legal help, if needed) to set up a nativity scene in their local public square.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What is happening to Christian refugees? Is U.S. policy not permitting Christians to seek refuge? Next on FOT

Why are persecuted Christians not able to gain refugee status in the United States? News reports indicate that since 2011 less than three percent of the 2,184 Syrian refugees allowed into the country were Christian.  And according to State Department figures, 97 percent of the refugees resettled in 2015 are Muslim.

Faith McDonnell
Where are the Christian refugees?
We’ll discuss this issue this week with Faith McDonnell of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Faith writes and speaks on the subject of the persecuted church (here's a link to some of her writings) and is the author of the 2007 book Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for NorthernUganda’s Children. She is a member of the Anglican Church of the Apostles and serves on the church’s international missions committee and as a board member for several human rights organizations.
Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll for an interesting
discussion with Faith on a subject that is important to all Christians today, as well as for our usual potpourri of news items of interest to people of faith. Faith On Trial is heard every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streams on IowaCathoilcRadio.com. Unless pre-empted by Dowling Catholic Basketball, the program will rebroadcast at 9 p.m.

Faith On Trial is supported by our loyal underwriters Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; ConfluenceBrewing 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 Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears Life Legal Defense Foundation's defense of pro-life speech!

Seeking injunction to protect sidewalk counselors from harassment

Katie Short
This afternoon, Life Legal Defense Foundation’s lead attorney, and frequent FOT guest Katie Short, appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit seeking a preliminary injunction against the Chief of Police and other officers of the City of Jackson, Mississippi to protect the First Amendment rights of pro-life speakers.

The case involves members of Pro-Life Mississippi (PLM), who have had a presence on the public sidewalk of the state’s last abortion clinic for years. During much of that time, they have been harassed, intimidated, threatened, and even arrested by law enforcement officers. In December 2013, the police arrested Harriet Ashley, who was 80 years old at the time, shackling her and taking her downtown for booking. That’s when Life Legal said enough is enough and filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking justice for those wrongfully arrested and first amendment protection for those peacefully praying on the sidewalk outside Mississippi’s last abortion clinic. 

In 2008, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi entered a consent decree against the City of Jackson and its Chief of Police because of the Police Department’s pervasive policy of violating the pro-lifers’ free speech rights. The Court went so far as to order the City and the police department to attend training on the First Amendment and to learn how to protect the free speech rights of citizens. However, the discriminatory and unconstitutional enforcement of the law has not stopped.

Jackson law enforcement officers continue to impose arbitrary and bizarre rules on the sidewalk counselors, including a “no touch” rule that prohibits the group from resting their signs on the ground at any time, even for a moment, and a “no standing” rule that requires them to continually move about when they are near the gate of the abortion clinic. Members of the group have been arrested for violating these so-called rules, even though they are not codified in any state or local statutes. At the same time, the Jackson Police Department enforced no such regulations against pro-abortion protesters on the same sidewalk.

“The City is on a mission and, as evidenced by the 2008 consent decree, has been for many years. Their mission is to discourage First Amendment activity,” said Life Legal attorney Katie Short. “The City’s strategy has been to force pro-life speakers into a game of ‘Mother, May I?’ with the police and then drag the losers into court on frivolous charges. That game needs to end.”

The injunction would allow pro-life speakers to continue their lawful and peaceful presence on the sidewalk without the threat of unwarranted and unconstitutional police action directed against them.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Swedish homeschooling tragedy: Boy held five years and kept from parents: Next FOT

Michael Donnelly
Dominic Johansson’s parents have not seen their son since November of 2010; they are being kept away by Swedish authorities because they homeschooled Dominic, who is now 14. Dominic’s parents, Christer and Annie Johansson were in the process of moving to India, Annie’s homeland, and were already seated on their aircraft when police and social workers boarded and took custody of Dominic.

Authorities initially said they took the boy because the family had been homeschooling. Later they changed their story to say the parents had been neglecting Dominic. In any event the case has wound its way through the Swedish court system and now, after being rejected by the European Court of Human Rights, the family is making one last stand in hopes that the Swedish Supreme Court will hear their case.
Joining Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll this week will be Michael Donnelly, staff attorney and director of Global Outreach for the Home School Legal Defense Association, who is working with European and Swedish attorneys to get the case before the Supreme Court.
Also Tuesday we’ll have our monthly visit from our media critic and former Des Moines Register reporter Todd Erzen.
Join Deacon Mike and Gina Tuesday at 9 a.m. (central) – rebroadcast at 9 p.m. – on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM, and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com.  
Faith On Trial is supported by 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 Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Life Legal Defense Fund’s defense of the Center of Medical Progress’ use of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood selling fetal body parts

Yesterday FOT hosted Alexandra Snyder, executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, and Life Legal’s activities on behalf of David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and their undercover videos showing how Planned Parenthood was attempting to sell the body parts of aborted babies. Later in the day Life Legal released the following Thanksgiving message which further explains the legal situation in which David and CMP find themselves. So in case you missed the program, here is the statement from Life Legal:

Life Legal is grateful for the opportunity to represent David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Earlier this year, David released the first of a series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts.

We wanted to give you an overview of what has happened on the legal front since then.

In July, shortly after the release of the first video, David was hit with two separate lawsuits. The first was filed by StemExpress, a procurer or broker of fetal body parts. The second suit was filed by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), of which Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are members. The NAF lawsuit alleged thirteen separate counts of action and sought an injunction to keep David’s videos out of public view. NAF is represented by one of the largest law firms in the nation, employing some 1,000 attorneys.

In August, Life Legal filed an “anti-SLAPP” motion. A “SLAPP” or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is designed to chill speech by making it prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to defend a lawsuit. Life Legal argues that NAF’s suit is baseless and was only filed to silence David and prevent the public from knowing the truth about the trade in fetal body parts. NAF later amended its complaint, and Life Legal plans to respond with another anti-SLAPP motion.

In September the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals got involved by issuing a temporary stay on discovery, which was later lifted.  September also saw the first of many congressional hearings in conjunction with a formal investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood. As part of the investigation, Congress issued a subpoena seeking CMP’s raw video footage, which NAF attempted to prevent CMP from complying with.

In October, a federal court ruled that CMP could send the videos to Congress.

The NAF lawsuit is currently in the discovery phase, which means that David and his lead attorney, Life Legal’s Katie Short, have spent long hours in depositions and preparing papers this month. Katie is preparing for another critical federal court hearing, which is scheduled for mid-December.

For background information on this very important case, please see Life Legal timeline page.

While this will be a long fight, we are doing everything we can to protect David’s First Amendment rights and to fight the allegations leveled against him. This is truly David versus the Goliaths of the abortion industry and we are so grateful for your help.

This Thanksgiving, Life Legal thanks you, our friends and supporters! You make it possible for us to continue defending the defenders of life.

Monday, November 23, 2015

In defense of the Planned Parenthood undercover videos

The undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials attempting to “sell” the body 
Alexandra Snyder
parts of aborted children has evoked a reaction from the abortion industry’s “professional” association, the National Abortion Federation. It has filed suit in federal court in California against the video’s to block the release of the videos’ producers, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its founder David Daleiden. Our friends at Life Legal Defense Foundation are the lead attorneys in the defense of CMP and Mr. Daleiden.

One of the center's latest videos can be seen below.

Tuesday, Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll will host Life Legal’s executive director, Alexandra Snyder, to discuss the legal implications in the case and what we should expect in the litigation.
Alexandra is a graduate of Trinity Law School and prior to her selection as Life Legal’s executive director has served as legislative counsel for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif) where she handled pro-life, judiciary, and human rights matters. She currently serves as a consultant on law and policy matters to a number of anti-trafficking orginizations and was previously the executive director of a pregnancy resource center in Southern California.
Life Legal Defense foundation was established in 1989, and is a nonprofit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation.
Join Deacon Mike and Gina this and every Tuesday at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. Faith On Trial is rebroadcast every Tuesday at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is supported by its underwriters: Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055  CSMC law.com; Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is entertainment in the tap room every Thursday; and Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

PJI asks federal court to block abortion speech mandate

Sacramento, CA—Attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute are asking a federal court to block implementation of a law that would force pro-life pregnancy clinics to point women toward abortion.

 Last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 775, which would require pro-life clinics to tell women about the availability of free or low-cost abortions.  PJI filed suit within 24 hours on behalf of three clinics across the state who believe in the sanctity of life and are morally opposed to abortion.  On Friday, PJI filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction asking the court to prevent the law from going into effect on January 1, 2016.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute and frequent FOT guest, commented, “It is imperative that we stop the government from forcing people of conscience to advocate messages to which they are morally and religiously opposed.  If the government can do this, none of our First Amendment freedoms are secure.”

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.  Oral arguments are scheduled for December 18 at 10 a.m. before Judge Kimberly Mueller.   

Monday, November 16, 2015

What’s with Obama’s “war” against the Little Sisters of the Poor?

Tuesday on FOT Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll will take up what is perceived as a “war” by the Obama Administration against the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Little Sisters of the Poor are an international congregation of Roman Catholic women religious founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan. Together they serve the elderly poor in over 30 countries around the world and work to offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.

Yet the Obama Administration is forcing them to provide abortion inducing drugs and contraceptives – against Church teaching – to their employees or face crippling fines that would force them out of business.  The Little Sisters have responded by taking the Obama Administration to court and recently the U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear their case.
Joining us Tuesday will be Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy advisor for The Catholic Association, to discuss this and other religious liberty issues.  Dr. Christie writes and speaks in both Spanish and English about Catholicism, religious freedom, and the intersection of faith and science.  
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie
The Catholic Association (TCA) is dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square. TCA is responding to the call of the Catholic Church for members of the lay faithful to apply Catholic teaching, wisdom, and principles to the issues of the day.
TCA engages on issues that are compelling based on the Teaching of the Church and defends our Catholic values wherever needed. Right now TCA is working fulltime to protect our God-given right – protected by the U.S. Constitution – to practice our faith free of government coercion and control. We are striving towards a society in which the common good and the dignity of every human person is upheld.
Dr. Christie’s writing has appeared in USA TODAY, CNN.com, National Review, FoxNews.com, US News and World Report, and The New York Times, among others.  She has appeared on CNN, Telemundo, Fox News, C-SPAN,and EWTN.
In 2014 she traveled to Rome to cover the Synod on the Family, commenting on its progress for many publications and shows.  She was a featured speaker at the National March for Life in D.C., in January 2015, where she spoke about prenatal diagnosis.
Dr. Christie grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, coming to the United States at the age of eleven.  She is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Miami School of Medicine and practices Radiology in the Miami area, where she lives with her husband and five children.
Join Deacon Mike and Gina Noll at 9 a.m. (Central) Tuesday on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM, and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. The program will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is sponsored by Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 5-1-453-1055; Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is entertainment in the tap room every Thursday; and Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.

Friday, November 13, 2015

ADF: HHS out of bounds to attempt redefinition of ‘sex’ in federal law

ADF files official comment on HHS misinterpretation of Title IX


WASHINGTONAlliance Defending Freedom filed an official comment this week with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding its proposed rule that reinterprets a federal ban on sex discrimination in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as a broader ban on “gender identity” discrimination in health programs. As the ADF comment explains, both Title IX itself and court precedent make clear that the law has nothing to do with gender identity, and only Congress has the authority to change it.

“No government agency can unilaterally redefine the meaning of a federal law to serve its own political ends,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “Once again, the administration is overreaching what it is legally and constitutionally allowed to do. HHS has no authority to reinterpret a clear, congressionally enacted law in a way that violates that law’s text, purpose, structure, legislative history, and 40-plus year history of judicial interpretation.”

Proposed rule 45 CFR 92 seeks to implement a section of Obamacare that incorporates the anti-discrimination language from other federal statutes, including Title IX. Although Title IX says, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” the proposed rule assumes a ban on gender-identity discrimination in that Title IX language.

“But Title IX never mentions gender identity, much less defines ‘sex’ to include gender identity…,” the ADF comment explains. “HHS cannot justifiably reinterpret sex to mean gender identity in the health care context based on the faulty interpretations from other agencies. So at most, HHS cites four cases to justify its misinterpretation, but these cases either do not interpret Title IX at all or do not support HHS’s interpretation or do not consider the enormous weight of contrary precedents. Even more telling, HHS never analyzes Title IX’s text, purpose, structure, or legislative history, each of which confirms that sex in Title IX means sex, not gender identity.”

The comment goes on to explain that Congress, not an agency of “unelected administrators,” has the power to make law:

“HHS provides no bases for changing Title IX’s long-standing and well-accepted meaning, especially when that change will violate people’s constitutional right to privacy and to religious freedom. The proposed rule, therefore, will lead to unnecessary lawsuits…and will waste taxpayer dollars in the process. This comment…proposes that HHS follow a better course for its proposed rule – actually follow what Title IX says.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Can a state athletic association ban prayers at a Catholic high school’s football game? One state is trying to do that; next on FOT

The North Dakota High School Activities Association has
banned a Catholic high school from public prayers before its playoff game. Shanley High School has led a prayer at its school football stadium before each of its regular season games, but it is prohibited Association policy from leading a prayer before the playoff game, as Association representatives have claimed that such a prayer would violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

Thomas Olp
Here to discuss this case with us Tuesday will be Attorney Thomas Olp with the Thomas More Society.
“The Constitution doesn’t require the State of North Dakota to police pre-game prayers at Christian and Catholic high schools,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “People of faith don’t give up their freedoms of speech and religion just because they are engaged in state-sponsored sporting events. We urge the Activities Association to allow member schools with faith traditions to express their faith during post-season games, just as they do during the regular season.”

Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com for a discussion of this and other issues of interest to Christians who are trying to practice their faith. The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m.

Faith On Trial if sponsored by 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, Des Moines; and Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd, 515-210-4472.  

Faith On Trial is heard every Tuesday at 9 & 9.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Little Sisters will get their day before the U. S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns facing tens of millions of dollars in IRS fines because they cannot, according to their faith, include contraceptives in their employee health plan. This is the second time the Sisters have been forced to ask the Supreme Court for protection against the government’s HHS Mandate. The Court’s decision will finally resolve the crucial question of whether governmental agencies can, wholly without legislative oversight, needlessly force religious ministries to violate their faith. The Supreme Court has consolidated their case with Becket client Houston Baptist and East Texas Baptist Universities, Priests for Life, South Nazarene University, Geneva College, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and Zubik.

“The Becket Fund is grateful that the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in on this important case,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The Little Sisters spend their lives taking care of the elderly poor—that is work our government should applaud, not punish. The Little Sisters should not have to fight their own government to get an exemption it has already given to thousands of other employers, including Exxon, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, and Boeing. Nor should the government be allowed to say that the Sisters aren’t ‘religious enough’ to merit the exemption that churches and other religious ministries have received.”
The Little Sisters, who care for more than 13,000 of the elderly poor  in the U.S., had no choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court due to the government’s refusal to exempt them from the HHS mandate, which is currently in its 9th unacceptable iteration. The mandate forces the Little Sisters to authorize the government to use the Sister’s employee healthcare plan to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs – a violation of their faith –  or pay massive fines, which would threaten their religious mission. The Supreme Court entered a temporary order protecting the nuns in January, 2014, but the government has continued litigating, asking lower courts to remove that protection.
“As Little Sisters of the Poor, we offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they are welcomed as Christ.  We perform this loving ministry because of our faith and cannot possibly choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith, and we shouldn’t have to,” said Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor. “All we ask is that our rights not be taken away.  The government exempts large corporations, small businesses, and other religious ministries from what they are imposing on us – we just want to keep serving the elderly poor as we have always done for 175 years. We look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case, and pray for God’s protection of our ministry.”

Monday, November 2, 2015

Toronto bans music festival over Christian songs: This week on FOT

Rev. David Lynn
This week on FOT we’re going north of the border again to visit with the Rev. David Lynn about his efforts to stop the bulling of Christians and the City of Toronto’s decision to ban a music festival from the city square over Christian songs.

Rev. Lynn became a Christian at the age of 16; in high school he formed prayer groups and bible studies only to be told they weren’t allowed.  He was later given a meeting room but restricted from sharing his beliefs while other students were allowed to share their beliefs on anything else as long as it wasn't Christianity.

Working for the largest media company in Canada, he was told that he couldn't post positive words of scripture at his cubicle even though flyers for the LGBT community were posted and postings of Jesus were forbidden.  He wasn't allowed to say Merry Christmas, but was forced to say Happy Holidays. 

Later as he began to share his faith on public sidewalks, but was told to keep his faith to himself and was bullied by Toronto Police. Once, when he was was sharing his faith at the publicly funded Toronto Pride Day Parade, July 1, 2012 he and his team were physically assaulted by members of the LGBT community and the Toronto Police forced him to leave and barred him from sharing his faith.  

 And so he decided to embark on a quest to bring awareness of Christian rights and create a platform so that Christians and their opinions would be accepted in the public square without discrimination. Thus he launched Christian Positive Space and Stop Bullying Christians Now as responses to the growing inequality towards Christians.   
In addition to Rev. Lynn, we will also have our monthly visit by our media critic, Todd Erzen. Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday – and every Tuesday – at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM; and streaming online at IowaCatholicRadio.com.
Faith On Trial is brought to you by our sponsors 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, Des Moines, Iowa (where there is entertainment in the tap room every Thursday); and Financial Planner Rob denHartog, wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Road, 515-310-4472.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Should Justice Anthony Kennedy be IMPEACHED?

Read the linked article and let us know if a Supreme Court Justice who has so little respect for religious and conscience rights of Americans should be allowed to remain on the court:  

Justice Kennedy: Christians with convictions resigned
under Hitler and they should today too

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, October 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy told a Harvard Law School audience that government employees with religious convictions about marriage should resign. (Read article here).

Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court

Monday, October 26, 2015

What happened at the Synod on the Family?

This week on FOT we’ll have a special report on the Synod on the Family from Lisa Bourne who just returned from Rome where she covered the synod for LifeSiteNews.com. Lisa is shown here in the Vatican Press Room.
After Lisa we’ll have our movie reviewer Stephanie Crowley on the movie “Woodland” – a story about a high school football team’s dedication to unity in a school filled with racism and hate.
Faith On Trial is sponsored by Attorney Rick McConville; Confluence Brewing Company, and Financial Planner Rob denHartog. It airs every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streams on IowaCatholicRadio.com.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cake artist asks Colorado Supreme Court to affirm his freedom of expression

Jack Phillips
DENVER – A Lakewood, Colorado, cake artist who declined to use his artistic talents to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony asked the state’s highest court Friday to take his case and rule that the government cannot force him to communicate a message with which he fundamentally disagrees.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys filed the petition after the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in August to affirm a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014. That decision ordered Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations. The decision also ordered Phillips to comply with Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act by re-educating his staff and filing quarterly “compliance” reports for two years.

“The freedom to live and work consistently with one’s faith is at the heart of what it means to be an American,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistic talents to promote a message with which he disagrees. We are asking the Colorado Supreme Court to ensure that government understands that its duty is to protect the people’s freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally, not force them to violate those beliefs as the price of earning a living.”

According to a March 13 Marist poll, 65 percent of Americans oppose penalizing wedding vendors who choose not to provide services for same-sex ceremonies on religious grounds.

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith.

Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which eventually ruled against Phillips. The same-sex couple was easily able to obtain their desired rainbow-themed cake from another nearby baker.

In contrast to the ruling against Phillips, the commission found in March that three Denver bakeries were not guilty of creed discrimination when they declined to create a cake for a Christian customer who sought a cake that reflected his religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

Contrary to the assertions of the commission and the state appeals court, Phillips did not engage in any type of discrimination based on the sexual orientation of the customer, the petition filed with the Colorado Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig explains.

“Phillips…honors God through his creative work by declining to use his artistic talents to design and create cakes that violate his religious beliefs…,” the petition states. “This includes cakes with offensive written messages and cakes celebrating events or ideas that violate his beliefs, including cakes celebrating Halloween, anti-American or anti-family themes, atheism, racism, or indecency…. He also will not create cakes with hateful, vulgar, or profane messages, or sell any products containing alcohol…. Consistent with this longtime practice, Phillips also will not create cakes celebrating any marriage that is contrary to biblical teaching….”

“By equating an artist’s conscience-driven, message-based objection to creating expressive items that offend his beliefs with person-based discrimination based on sexual orientation…,” the petition continues, “the [appeals] court places CADA in direct conflict with the fundamental rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, and wrongly subordinates these rights to public accommodations law.”

“Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced to express contrary views,” added lead counsel Nicolle Martin, one of more than 2,600 private attorneys allied with ADF. “Forcing people to promote ideas against their will is not an American concept. It undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free.”