Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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


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

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


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

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was brought before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit where a sharply divided panel voted 2-1 that the unpublished letter has the force of law and should be applied to all schools in the nation. 

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

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

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

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

·      John Paul the Great Catholic University

·      Thomas Aquinas College

·      The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

·      Wyoming Catholic College

·      Ignatius Angelicum Liberal Studies Program

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

·      National Catholic Bioethics Center 

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


About First Liberty Institute 

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

Judgment entered against county sheriffs for violating Christians’ free speech


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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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


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

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


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

Monday, September 26, 2016

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


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

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

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

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

Faith On Trial is brought to you courtesy of our underwriters:  Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; and Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is live entertainment in the tap room every Thursday.

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

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

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


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

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

  • Cite quotes by Henry Hyde, such as, "This is a debate about our understanding of human dignity, what it means to be a member of the human family, even though tiny, powerless and unwanted." (Find more quotes at www.azquotes.com/author/29083-Henry_Hyde)       
  • Submit an op-ed piece to a local media outlet marking the anniversary and explaining why your community is better because of it.
  • Announce an annual Hyde Life Issues Essay Contest for children – granting awards for a selected piece within each academic range. 
  • Gather outside an abortion clinic and sing spiritual songs, pray, and read aloud Henry Hyde's Plea to Override President Clinton's Veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (taken from the Congressional Record, September 19, 1996) – text found here
  • Add Henry Hyde's book, "Catch the Burning Flag: Speeches and Random Observations," to your staff's reading list and consider gifting a copy to a local library.  
  • Pray for the defeat of any challenge to the Hyde Amendment, including the current Democratic Party platform push to repeal it.
"As pro-life advocates observe this milestone in the movement," added Ciesielka, "It can be a time to look into their own organizational history and the surrounding community to find the landmarks and events worth recognizing in similar ways." Some possible benchmarks might include:

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

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The Disguised Socialism of Saul Alinsky, An EWTN documentary – Next FOT


In 1971 Socialist community organizer Saul Alinsky wrote the book, Rules for Radicals, dedicated to Lucifer, as a how-to for Socialist community organizing. The influence of that book has influenced the thinking of many of today’s political leaders, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as spawning left-wing organizations such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS), and the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), among others.
This week (Wednesday 9.m.; Thursday at noon; and Saturday at 5 p.m.) EWTN will broadcast a 60 minute docu-drama, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The Disguised Socialism of Saul Alinisky, a profile of Alinsky’s influence on society in general and the Church in particular.
Joining us Tuesday for a discussion of Alinisky’s legacy will be Stephanie Block, author of several books on Alinsky, including Organizing the Culture of Death (link on the side), and the four-volume Change Agents: Alinskyian Organizing among Religious Bodies. Stephanie
Stephanie Block
served as consultant for the film and appears in it. She is also the author of the recent article on last week’s topic, “George Soros and Churches on the Same Page.” She is a Spero News Columnist and edits the New Mexico-based Los PequeĊˆos deCristo.
Stephanie is married and the mother of seven children, one of whom is a Catholic priest, and one daughter who is a Dominican, four are married and she has 19 grandchildren.
Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 and 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com for an interesting discussion of the Alinsky legacy. Not only will we have a discussion of the politics of Saul Alinsky, we’ll have a review of the film by our research associate Stephanie Crowley. The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m. and podcasts of earlier programs can be found here.
Faith On Trial is underwritten by our loyal sponsors: Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; and Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is live entertainment in the tap room every Thursday.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bishops reaffirm teaching on life in light of deceptive ad campaign


Bishop Richard Pates
Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates joined New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and other bishops in affirming Catholic teaching that instructs life begins at conception and ends at natural death.

This affirmation makes clear Catholic Church teaching in light of a deceptive ad campaign, "Abortion in Good Faith," funded by a group that calls itself Catholics for Choice, which placed ads in major newspapers across the country Sept. 12.

 Their ad campaign contradicts Catholic Church teaching.

"The use of the word 'Catholic' used to promote the taking of innocent human life in the ad campaign is offensive not only to Catholics but to all who expect honesty and forthrightness in public discourse," said Cardinal Dolan, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. "CFC is not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way. It has no membership and clearly does not speak for the faithful."

He referred to Pope Francis, who said this past summer, "Life must always be welcomed and protected...from conception to natural death. All of us are called to respect life and care for it."

"CFC's extreme ads promote abortion as if it were a social good," said Cardinal Dolan. "But abortion kills the most defenseless among us, harms women, and tears at the heart of families. Pushing for public funding would force all taxpaying Americans to be complicit in the violence of abortion and an industry that puts profit above the well-being of women and children."

"Abortion is often portrayed as a conflict between the needs of the pregnant woman and the unborn child. Yet we know that when we offer education, help and compassion to women facing crisis pregnancies, and the extensive availability of adoption, we can help her and protect the young and vulnerable life growing within her," said Bishop Pates. "It's not an either or, it's an opportunity to help both mother and child."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A bishop who proclaims ‘life really matters’ in the coming election

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas responds to an ad by “Catholics for Choice” that was placed in a local newspaper:
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
A full page ad placed in the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News on Monday, September 12, by so-called “Catholics for Choice” attempted to mislead the public by claiming that they are a legitimate voice of the Catholic Church. I applaud my brother bishops in those dioceses who quickly and clearly disavowed this group and made it crystal clear that they do not speak for Catholics in any legitimate way.
Although I am thankful that this group did not deem the Tyler market to be one that was worth their effort, I still felt I should speak out.
The teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the sanctity of life in the womb is ancient and clear. Certainly not every Catholic embraces this truth as fully as I would hope. But it is truly absurd and diabolical for a group which embraces the pro-choice, pro-death agenda, and denies life to countless human beings simply because they haven’t yet been born, to attempt to co-opt the term Catholic. As a Catholic Bishop, I often find myself ranting at the television in response to the latest statement of a politician, actor or other public figure, but I must remind myself that ranting at the television does no good.
As the November election approaches, let us all reflect deeply on the ills of our society and how we can find our way back to the truth. I believe we must start with the basics. When we choose a candidate for whatever level of public office, we MUST inquire as to their stand with regard to the life of the unborn. Of course it is not the only question, but the questions don’t get more basic than that. Our vote is very often the only voice we have and we MUST VOTE NO to abortion, to the selling of the body parts of aborted children, to the further erosion of the moral teachings that flow from the Gospel and to all the threats to the Sanctity of Life that our society faces.
I am well aware that very often we are unable to find a candidate who upholds the Sanctity of Life in all of its dimensions, but I believe we must begin with the most basic issues. If a candidate for whatever office callously demands the slaughter of unborn children as a so-called right and vigorously supports organizations that profit from the multi-billion dollar abortion industry, then how can any other human right they may champion be truly meaningful?
Our beautiful Catholic faith, guided by the Holy Spirit teaches the world that human life begins at conception. In order to re-build our fractured human family, we must return to that precious beginning and stand tall for the Sanctity of Life. Let us pray that we may re-learn the beautiful truth that the conception of a child through the sexual union of a man and woman in Holy Matrimony is our most wondrous human act and that the child conceived is God’s most precious gift to the world.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Is George Soros trying to control the Catholic Church?


Lisa in Vatican Press room
LifeSiteNews has been reporting on the efforts of Billionaire Socialist George Soros to gain the support of the Catholic Church for his leftist political agenda.  In recent weeks LifeSite has reported how he has tried to use and abuse the Church to support his “progressive” policies, including world-wide abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and other positions that are anathema to the Church in particular and most Christians in general.
One of LifeSite’s reporters, Lisa Bourne, who wrote about Soros’ attempt to bring down the Church (read it here), will join us Tuesday to discuss her findings and what affect this might have on the presidential election. Find out what is going on, and how it is being done so you can be armed with the facts from a Catholic perspective.
George Soros
Join Deacon Mike Manno, Gina Noll, and Lisa at 9 a.m. Tuesday for an interesting discussion of where faith and politics intersect this year, and other issues of importance to people of faith, on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM; and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com.  The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m. Podcasts of earlier programs can be found here.
Faith On Trial is sponsored by our loyal underwriters: Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; and Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is live entertainment in the tap room every Thursday.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

State to squelch undercover reporting

Posted on Sep 9th 2016 in Advocates in Action Blog

In the wake of last year’s release of undercover videos depicting Planned Parenthood officials brokering in baby parts (including custom orders for specific parts), at least six states have yanked public funding for the nation’s largest abortion mill.
California’s response? Punish the messenger.
Despite existing laws banning recordings without the permission of all parties, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) has introduced AB 1671, which provides additional protections for healthcare providers by making it illegal to distribute videos or transcripts of private conversations on any medical-related topic, not just a patient’s medical history. That means investigative reporters and researchers would be stripped of a vital tool in depicting unethical or illegal behavior such as billing practices and price setting for pharmaceuticals, to name a few.
The bill, which is now on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, is opposed by the media outlets across the state, including the Los Angeles Times, which said that it would “disincentivize potential whistleblowers from recording malfeasance when they witness it.”
It is interesting to note that the left never seems to complain about such undercover recordings when it comes to disclosing the treatment of cows, pigs and chickens during the manufacturing process, but the gruesome treatment of babies is off limits.
To read more about this bill, click here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton FBI notes


FBI notes on Hillary Clinton interview – For those of you wondering what was in the recently released report and notes on the FBI’s interview with Hillary Clinton, here is the government site where they can be read https://vault.fbi.gov/hillary-r.-clinton

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bathroom debate invades church walls in ‘unprecedented’ case

DES MOINES, Iowa – Dozens of supporters and pastors across denominational lines sat in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa last week, in what lawyers for both sides called an “unprecedented” case for religious liberty in America.
“Iowa really is an outlier,” explained Steve O’Ban, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney representing Fort Des Moines Church of Christ in his opening remarks, “where a government enforcer is seeking to regulate the building of a religious organizations in violation of its religious beliefs.”
At stake in the case of Fort Des Moines Church of Christ v. Jackson, argued O’Ban, is whether sexual orientation and gender identity, or SOGI, provisions in state civil rights codes could grant government a “green light to regulate churches.”
The core of the argument is whether or not churches can be considered “public accommodations” and therefore be guilty of “discrimination” if, to borrow language directly from Iowa Code 216.7, they make a person feel “unwelcome” or “not acceptable” because of their gender identity.
In other words, can the state deem a church a “public accommodation” and therefore compel the congregation to open its womens’ bathrooms to biological men who “identify” as female? Or, more liberally applied, could the government charge churches with “discrimination” if their signs, literature, or even sermons make a homosexual person feel “not acceptable”?
How is a secular court qualified to determine which church activities are protected by the First Amendment and which are not?
Lawyers representing the City of Des Moines and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, on the other hand, argued the case should be dismissed because there are no churches in Iowa currently under investigation for violating the public accommodation laws. Assistant Attorney General Molly Weber argued Fort Des Moines Church of Christ’s case is “hypothetical” and based on “fear.”
The Iowa Civil Rights Code already has an exemption, Weber said, for church activities with, according to the Code’s language, “a bona fide religious purpose.”
“If [an activity is] protected by the First Amendment it’s exempt,” Weber argued, “[and] if not protected by the First Amendment, it’s not exempt.”
But that, the ADF attorney said, is exactly the problem: How is a secular court qualified to determine which church activities are protected by the First Amendment and which are not? And are we to give a civil rights commission the authority to force churches to violate their religious beliefs and practices because the commission doesn’t think some of the church’s activities are “religious enough”?
“You don’t sift through the activities and weigh whether one is religious and one is not,” O’Ban said to U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose. Besides, he continued, “[His client's] church does not allow any use of its building inconsistent with its religious purpose.”
Weber, however, wasn’t willing to concede O’Ban’s argument.
“Church autonomy is not without limits,” she said, suggesting some church activities may require a test of whether or not they are “rooted in sincere religious belief.”
But as for what that test may be, or who would have the ability to make that determination, Weber could only say it would have to be determined on a “case-by-case” basis. Des Moines City Attorney Michelle Mackel admitted there was “no test except common sense measuring.”
Yet as the very controversy over open bathrooms in schools – and now churches – reveals, what qualifies as common sense isn’t commonly agreed upon in America today.
“That is precisely the problem,” rebutted O’Ban.
“That vagueness [in the law] is in itself a constitutional violation,” O’Ban said.
O’Ban argued his client is left wondering whether a potluck has a “bona fide religious purpose” and thus is protected by the First Amendment or not. What about a movie night where the public is invited? Will a court have to sift through the movie to determine whether its content is Christian enough to be deemed “bona fide religious”? What about offering community child care or feeding the homeless? Could a church be found guilty of “discrimination” if a transgender, homeless man came in for a meal and found a pamphlet on human sexuality that made him feel, according to Iowa Code, “not acceptable”?
Yes, there’s a religious institution exemption in the Iowa Civil Rights Code, O’Ban conceded, but its “impossibly vague” language opens the door for government enforcers to start “sifting through church activities to determine what are religious or non-religious activities,” a measure of government intrusion on the freedom of religion he called “deeply concerning.”
“That vagueness [in the law] is in itself a constitutional violation,” O’Ban said. “That vagueness has had and continues to have a ‘chilling’ effect on [the church's] First Amendment rights.”
Fort Des Moines Church of Christ and Alliance Defending Freedom are asking Judge Rose to issue an injunction to prevent the city and state from dictating bathroom policies within the walls of the church and from regulating the church’s public communications, to legally free churches to once again exercise the freedom of speech and religion without having to stop and evaluate whether every activity is “religious enough” to be exempt from government enforcement.
Judge Rose offered no timeline for her decision but suggested it would be forthcoming as swiftly as possible.

Obama Administration at it again: New “Transgender Mandate” will force doctors to provide transgender procedures on any child referred by a mental health professional regardless of religious or conscience reservations.


Stephanie Barclay
Among other attacks on the right of conscience by the Obama Administration, the president’s  Department of Health and Human Services has recently mandated that doctors must perform gender transition procedures on any child referred by a mental health professional, even if the doctor believes the treatment or hormone therapy could harm the child. Doctors who follow their Hippocratic Oath to act in the best interest of their patient instead of this new mandate can face severe consequences, including losing their job.
This Transgender Mandate also requires virtually all private insurance companies and many employers to cover gender transition procedures or face stiff penalties and legal action. There are two major insurance plans exempted from this mandate, however—the plans run by HHS: Medicare and Medicaid. 
This is not a question of access to care but of forcing a progressive political ideology on doctors against their medical judgment. This mandate would be unique in requiring doctors to violate their Hippocratic Oath.
Joining us again this week will be Stephanie Barclay of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to discuss this new attack on our freedoms by the administration of Barack Obama.
Stephanie joined the Becket Fund as Legal Counsel after working pro bono to defend numerous religious liberty clients during her time at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. Aside from her pro bono religious liberty work while at Covington, Stephanie also represented clients in government contract, defense, pharmaceutical, health care, transportation, and technology industries in state and federal litigation, as well as in administrative matters. Before working at Covington, Stephanie clerked for the Honorable N. Randy Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She has been featured on BBC World News, Wall Street Journal Live, Newsmax TV, and EWTN.
In addition to Stephanie we’ll have our monthly visit from our media critic Todd Erzen.
Join Deacon Mike Manno, co-host Gina Noll, Stephanie and Todd Tuesday at 9 a.m. for an interesting discussion on matters that affect people of faith: Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM; and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. The program will re-air at 9 p.m. and pod casts of earlier programs may be found here.
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; and Confluence Brewing Company – off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is live entertainment in the tap room every Thursday.