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 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

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.”

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thomas More & ADF to school district: Obama Administration wrong to force school district to open girls’ locker rooms

Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom
send letter with legal precedent to School Board 

Attorneys from the Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom have sent a letter to the School Board and Superintendent Daniel Cates of School District 211, articulating the rights of students and parents to privacy in sex-specific showers and changing areas and the rights of the school district to maintain policies keeping opposite sex students, including transgender students, out of those areas. The Obama administration’s Office of Civil Rights has demanded that the school district reverse the policy. 

“A school should not force students to share a shower and changing room with students of the opposite sex,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “If a high school student who is biologically male is allowed to use the female showers and changing room, this would jeopardize the privacy of all the young women using their designated locker room. Instead, the privacy rights of all children must be guaranteed and protected, and separate accommodations provided as necessary.” 

The letter sent to the School Board by Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom provides legal backing for the school to enact policies respecting the privacy of all students, specifically that: 

(1)  no federal law requires public schools to open sex-specific restrooms, showers, and changing areas to opposite-sex students

(2)  providing such access violates the fundamental rights of the vast majority of students and parents, and

(3)  schools have broad discretion to regulate the use of school restrooms, showers, and changing areas. 

Furthermore, the letter states that a school’s granting students access to opposite-sex changing areas could subject the school to tort liability for violating students’ and parents’ rights: “Allowing students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms would seriously endanger students’ privacy and safety, undermine parental authority, violate religious students’ free exercise rights, and severely impair an environment conducive to learning. These dangers are so clear-cut that a school district allowing such activity would clearly expose itself to tort liability. Consequently, school districts should reject polices that force students to share restrooms and locker rooms with members of the opposite sex.” 

The Thomas More Society urges School District 211 to ensure privacy of all children in its school system. 

Read the letter from Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

HHS has conducted ZERO oversight of Planned Parenthood since 2007 -- the story next on FOT

An exclusive report by Stream reporter and attorney Rachel Alexander has the details of the
Rachel Alexander
investigation and she will join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday on FOT.

The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 states that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should be auditing Planned Parenthood, as Planned Parenthood is involved in research on aborted fetuses and HHS is supports this work with funding. The Stream filed its FOIA request with HHS in July, asking for documents and emails related to Planned Parenthood and the audits. The initial response on August 24, the deadline, was that they had no documents fitting the description of the public records that The Stream had requested.

Continuing to press for information, The Stream has received redacted emails and several letters from HHS to Congress stating that “The NIH [HHS] did not provide any financial support for human fetal tissue transplantation research [after 2007].” The question posed by Ms. Alexander is: “If this is accurate, what about all the harvesting of fetal body parts that Planned Parenthood itself categorizes as research? HHS provides Planned Parenthood with the majority of its federal funding, and has continued to do so up to the present.”

Additionally, most of the emails HHS sent to The Stream were heavily redacted, without explanation. In response to the redactions, Steve Aden, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, notes: “The FOIA Statute wasn’t intended to empower the government to stonewall the public,” he responded. “Using FOIA as a shield to keep its own deliberations on how to ‘spin’ its decisions to the public secret is a flagrant violation to the letter and spirit of the law.”

In addition, Rachel has been reporting on the case of a high school football coach, Joe Kennedy, who is being threatened with dismissal if he continues to lead prayers after games. She currently writes for numerous e-zines on the web, including The Stream, and the International Oracle Syndicate. Employed as a Deputy County Attorney with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona, Rachel is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona, where she practiced Commercial and Administrative Law and a former cyberlaw attorney for GoDaddy, a software corporation in Scottsdale, Arizona. She also does pro bono work referred to her by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious constitutional rights organization in Scottsdale, Arizona.

FOT is heard every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) and re-broadcast at 9 p.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streams on

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Congress will get unedited Planned Parenthood videos

Court Rules that Congress Can Receive Full Unedited Footage of Undercover Investigation into National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood

Potential Constitutional Clash between Federal Court and Congress Averted

(October 6, 2015 - SAN FRANCISCO) – This afternoon, in response to arguments by the Thomas More Society, counsel for David Daleiden, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III has ruled that David Daleiden and The Center for Medical Progress may respond to Congress’s subpoena seeking all unedited video footage of Daleiden’s undercover investigation into trafficking in fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood and other National Abortion Federation affiliates. 

“The National Abortion Federation has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep David Daleiden’s footage of its annual meetings out of the hands of law enforcement and the Congress,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “We’re pleased that the District Court has today decided to allow Congress to seek the unedited footage of the wrongdoing uncovered by David’s investigation. We will continue to urge the District Court to allow David to release more undercover videos featuring the footage from these annual meetings to the public, so that the American people can make their own assessment of the practices of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation.” 
The National Abortion Federation had urged Judge Orrick to forbid Daleiden from providing the footage requested by Congress. However, Judge Orrick’s order, issued this afternoon, stated unequivocally that “Congress has the power to investigate, and it is not up to the courts to go beyond the narrow confines of determining that the committee’s inquiry is in its province.” 
Judge Orrick’s order further stated that, “Importantly in our Constitutional system, there are three equal branches of government, and courts should refrain from creating needless friction with a coordinate branch of government.” 
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, authorized the subpoena for the unedited footage in the wake of claims by Planned Parenthood that the videos released by David Daleiden and The Center for Medical Progress were somehow doctored, a claim vigorously denied by Daleiden. With today’s order from the District Court, the Congress will now be able to review the investigative materials and reassure the public that the videos about Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation are authentic and true.
You can read Judge Orrick's order here.
Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit 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. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Can the ACLU and the courts order Catholic hospitals to perform abortions? Next on FOT

In Michigan the ACLU has filed a lawsuit asking the court to order Catholic hospitals to provide abortion services to women seeking them. Does the government have the legal authority to do that? Or is this just another example of how anti-Christian activists are trying to marginalize the Church?

Attorney Erin Mersino
Joining Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll this week is a true “Defender of the Faith,” Erin Mersino, senior trial counsel at the ThomasMore Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Erin was one of the first attorneys to obtain an injunction against the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate and was named “Defender of the Faith” by the national Catholic business group Legatus. Erin’s defense of religious freedom includes her representation of 23 plaintiffs challenging the HHS Mandate, and her defense of Father Ray Leonard, the contract Naval Chaplain who was banned from celebrating Catholic Mass during a government shut-down and threatened with arrest if he volunteered to celebrate Mass or if he entered the Chapel.
In addition to Erin we will have our monthly visit from Todd Erzen our media critic who will comment on the press coverage of Pope Francis’s U.S. visit and Gina will re-cap her trip to Philadelphia to see the pope.
It all happens 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.
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, Des Moines, and Financial Planner Rob denHartog, wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW conrner of 128th Street and Hickman Rd. 515-210-4472.