Friday, March 31, 2017

Pacific Justice Institute convinces school district to wait with regard to sex ed curriculum

Sunnyvale, CA—The Pacific Justice Institute helped convince a Bay Area school district to abstain from adopting a proposed sex education curriculum this week.

Parents who packed the Cupertino Union School District’s (CUSD) board meeting were in an uproar over a curriculum that CUSD was considering adopting in compliance with the California Healthy Youth Act, which became law in 2016. The law, which requires public school districts to provide comprehensive sexual health education to students in grades 7-12, also requires that (1) such education be age-appropriate, (2) parents be given a full and fair opportunity to review any proposed curriculum materials to determine whether such materials are age-appropriate for their children, and (3) parents be allowed to opt their children out of any portions of sex ed classes that they deem objectionable.

CUSD had only made the curriculum materials available during working hours over a span of roughly three weeks, preventing many working parents of CUSD’s roughly 18,000 students from reviewing the materials. Furthermore, the curriculum materials included graphic descriptions of vaginal, oral, and anal sex, along with material on homosexuality—all of which, many parents felt, is too “adult” for their teen and pre-teen children. One parent even accused CUSD of essentially presenting porn to a PG-13 audience.

Finally, CUSD admitted on its website that it would be very difficult for parents to opt their children out of portions of sex ed courses that they considered inappropriate.

“In enacting the Healthy Youth Act, the California Legislature explicitly recognized that students’ parents and guardians are the best judges of what is and is not age-appropriate for their children,” said PJI staff attorney Ray D. Hacke, who sent a legal opinion letter to CUSD’s board prior to the meeting and spoke on behalf of a group of concerned parents at the meeting. “The Legislature thus empowered parents to help make that call. CUSD may have been complying with part of the law in attempting to adopt the curriculum. However, the district apparently forgot the part about enabling parents to play an active role in their children’s education.”

Ultimately, CUSD’s five-member board deadlocked in a 2-2 vote, with one member abstaining. A majority was needed for the curriculum to be adopted.

“Waiting on adopting the curriculum was the right call,” PJI President Brad Dacus, and frequent FOT guest, said. “Hopefully CUSD will give parents more of a chance to review the materials and recognize that when it comes to children’s education, parents are their partners, not their adversaries.”

Here’s the latest on doctor prescribed death around the U.S.

Here is the latest on assisted suicide activity around the country from Barbara Lyons of the Coalition for Patients Rights Action Fund: 

Active Bills to Prohibit or Limit Assisted Suicide in 2017

·         New York (A3989 – prohibits insurance coverage for assisted suicide drugs)

·         Washington (SB 5433 – strengthens informed consent in existing law)

·         Oklahoma (HB 1495 Death Certificate Accuracy Act – requires that cause of death be listed as assisted suicide if lethal drugs used).  This bill has passed in one house.

·         Montana (HOUSE BILL NO. 328 – consent is not a defense for assisted suicide.  This bill died on a tie vote in the House.

·         Kansas (House Concurrent Resolution No. 5010) – resolution in opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide

·         Arizona (Senate Bill 1439) – legislation passed and signed into law which gives conscience protection to medical professionals from involvement in assisted suicide 

Active Bills to Legalize/Expand Assisted Suicide in 2017: 

·         New Jersey (S 2474 --carryover from 2016)

·         New York (S.3151/A.2383 , A.3598 “End-of-Life Options” Act)

·         Massachusetts (H.1194, S.1225)

·         Pennsylvania (SB 238)

·         Alaska (HB 54 - Voluntary Termination of Life)

·         Oklahoma (HJR 1009  -- Ballot measure)

·         Maine (SP 113, An Act to Support Death With Dignity)

·         Minnesota (SF 1572 – End of Life Options Act)

·         Wisconsin

·         Nevada (SB 261)

·         Oregon (SB 893) 

Defeated Bills to Legalize Assisted Suicide in 2017

·         Mississippi (Death with Dignity Act Senate Bill 2283) – died in committee

·         Utah (HB 76) – tabled

·         Tennessee   (SB 1378, HB 1394) – withdrawn

·         Maryland (SB 354) – withdrawn; HB 370 – died in committee

·         Wyoming (HB 0122) – bill was drafted but not introduced, dead at this time

·         New Mexico (House Bill 171, SB 252) – defeated by Senate vote

·         Indiana (SB 273, HB 1561 ) – died in committee

·         Hawaii (HB 150, HB 201, HB 550, SB 357. SB 1129) – tabled in committee.  There is a last ditch effort going on to pull the bill from committee for a vote in the House.

·         Nebraska (Legislative Bill 450) – not a priority bill

·         Connecticut (H.B. No. 6024, HB 6238) – died in committee

·         Kansas (HB 2120 Death With Dignity Act) – died in committee

·         Arizona (HB 2336) – died in committee

·         Iowa, (Senate File 215, House File 299) – died in committee

·         Missouri (Death With Dignity Act HB 524) – attempt to add to another bill failed 

Assisted Suicide Laws Going Into Effect

·         District of Columbia.   Congressional Resolutions of Disapproval to overturn “The Death with Dignity Act of 2015” in the District of Columbia (H.J. Res 27/S.J. Res 4).  Passed in a House committee but the full House and Senate failed to act before the February 17 deadline.   Assisted suicide is now legal in the District of Columbia.


President Trump appoints former FOT guest to top post at HHS

Roger Severino
Roger Severino, director of the DeVoss Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, and a former guest on Faith On Trial (July 19, 2016), has been appointed director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports that this could give a significant shift to how the department treats religious freedom and life issues. Severino is a Harvard Law School graduate and had spent his time at the Heritage Foundation working on religious issues. CNA reports that Severino has written with concerns over the Pentagon’s gender policy and the Obama Administration’s treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Prior to his work at the Heritage Foundation he served as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice. Before that he was chief operations officer at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The blog promo for his appearance can be found here and the podcast of his interview can be found on the Iowa Catholic Radio web page by following the link.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Jersey middle school students are taught that Islam is the true faith; two mothers pilloried for making it public

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced that it is representing two Chatham, New Jersey mothers who are being pilloried by their community.  Their crime: appearing on Fox TV’s Tucker Carlson Show to voice concerns about Islamic indoctrination of Chatham Middle School seventh graders.

Astonishingly, seventh graders in this public school are taught: “May God help us all find the true faith, Islam.”
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: “The promotion of Islam is worse than what the mothers presented to Tucker Carlson. After viewing one of the videos which the seventh graders were directed to watch, I can’t imagine any objective person saying this is not Islamic indoctrination.  Clueless school administrators across our nation are allowing this type of indoctrination to take place and it’s up to vigilant parents to stop it.  Libby and Nancy should have been praised, not pilloried.”

Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer, with sons in different classes in the seventh grade, detailed their concerns in person to the Chatham Board of Education at their February 6, 2017 public meeting.   Superintendent Michael LaSusa indicated that any change to the curriculum was unlikely, and the next day also refused their request to meet privately with him to discuss their concerns.

Students had been shown a subtle propaganda cartoon video, 5 Pillars, which opens with two boys, one of them a Muslim, kicking a soccer ball. The Muslim teaches the non-Muslim the 5 Pillars of Islam.   Additionally, a subtitle of bright, multi-colored words of various shapes pronounces a form of the Islamic conversion creed: “There is no god except Allah and Prophet Muhammad is His messenger.” The cartoon ends with a sad non-Muslim boy, who suddenly smiles when the Muslim boy invites him to join him at the mosque for noon-day prayers. Something the teacher can’t personally do, but does through the cartoon.  Clever!

See the 5-minute video here.

Clearly, seventh graders had been presented with a sugarcoated, false depiction of Islam.  They had not been informed of the kidnappings, beheadings, slave-trading, massacres, and persecution of non-Muslims, nor of the repression of women — all done in the name of Islam and the Koran.

Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer were subjected to personal attacks throughout their campaign to stop Islamic indoctrination at the Chatham Middle School. They were defamed as “bigots” and “Islamophobes”, “hateful”, “ignorant”, “xenophobes”, “intolerant”, “racist”, “closed minded”, “sad and ignorant” in social media, and the list goes on.  The attacks significantly intensified after their appearance on the Tucker Carlson Show.

Commenting on the community’s reaction, Nancy Gayer stated: “It’s just not fair that within this unit of study the Chatham school district taught one religion to the exclusion of all others, and for the community to be so unkind and unwelcoming towards us, just for having raised legitimate questions as concerned parents.”

Libby Hilsenrath added, “One of my fundamental obligations as a parent is to guide the religious and secular education of my children.  That’s why I will continue the fight against the Islamic indoctrination now taking place at Chatham, regardless of the personal attacks.”

Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer asked the board to review the curriculum and requested that either the Islam lessons be removed or that the school spend equal time on the study of Christianity and other religions.

Nancy Gayer contrasted the World Cultures and Geography lessons on Islam to her son’s previous experience in fourth grade when he was precluded from including a short quote from the Bible, "he who lends to the poor, lends to the Lord.” (Prov 19:17) The quote was a part of his video presentation related to gathering warm clothes for underprivileged children.  Nancy said that her son’s teacher informed him that the brief Biblical quote "belongs in Sunday school, not in the classroom."  Obviously, based upon the World Cultures and Geography lessons being taught to children within the same school district, this abridgment of religious speech does not apply to Islam.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Statement by David Daleiden's legal team on charges Caifornia filed over baby body parts video

Yesterday, California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, charged undercover journalist David Daleiden with 15 felony charges in connection with his Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts exposé videos.   
Daleiden’s legal defense team member, Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel  of the Thomas More Society, issued the following statement in response:
"When it comes to felony charges against our client, David Daleiden, history is on our side. When David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were falsely charged in Texas, after they mounted a vigorous defense, the charges were abruptly dropped. We expect that the same will prove true in California.  
“The world knows that Planned Parenthood’s business partners, DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics, have been sued by Orange County, California. The lawsuit alleges that they illegally profited from the sale of human baby body parts from abortions. This confirms the truth of what has been depicted in Daleiden’s videos.
“David Daleiden and his co-defendant, Sandra Merritt, will be vindicated. They will assert robust defenses to these charges. Their efforts led to numerous criminal referrals by both Senate and House investigative committees. Their efforts were furtherance of First Amendment values and are clothed with the same Constitutional protection that all investigative journalists deserve and must enjoy. Undercover journalism has been a vital tool in our politics and self-governance.”                                                                                                        

Monday, March 27, 2017

New bill would criminalize pronoun usage in nursing homes

Sacramento, CA—The latest battleground over gender theory is coming to nursing homes—and failure to conform to State orthodoxy could be a crime.

The mandates on long-term care facilities, their employees and even non-employees are set forth in Senate Bill (SB) 219, proposed by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).  The bill is set for hearing on Tuesday afternoon, March 28, in the Senate Human Services Committee which Sen. Wiener chairs.  The Pacific Justice Institute Center for Public Policy sent a letter to the committee on Friday opposing the bill.

In the letter, Kevin Snider of the PJI-CPP details a number of concerns with the bill, including religious freedom, pronouns, names and compelled speech.  Among other things, the bill contains no exceptions for religiously-operated institutions, which means nuns caring for the elderly and disabled in covered facilities would be expected to embrace the State’s gender ideology.  The bill also fails to account for the sad reality that many residents of long-term care facilities are not in their right minds and may have delusions that should not be imposed on caregivers. 

Brad Dacus, the president of the PJI-CPP and a frequent FOT guest, noted, “Radical gender theory has real, negative consequences for society.  All of us should be alarmed by the attempt to now criminalize the use of legal names and grammatically correct pronouns in nursing homes.  We believe this bill is not only unconstitutional, but unconscionable.”

Revisiting Alinsky and cultural Marxism

Saul Alinsky
We’re going to take a bit of a different turn this week on FOT. We’re bringing back our old friends, filmmakers Stephen and Richard Payne of Arcadia Films. You might remember them from last October when their feature documentary “A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing” (article contains filmtrailer) about the rise of Saul Alinsky was aired by EWTN.

Since their first appearance on FOT many things have happened in the country that certainly resemble the tactics of the Alinsky crowd: shutting down of campus conservative speakers; violent attacks on supporters of President Trump; threats against Christians and religious freedom, as well as continued failure to acknowledge the results of the 2016 election.
Stephen Payne
Is this the rise of cultural Marxism or just a passing phase? We’ll find out a bit more about this phenomena Tuesday at 9 (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM, and streaming on You can also download our app at the app store and listen to past broadcasts at the station’s website. The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m.
Richard Payne
Faith On Trial with Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll is brought to you courtesy of 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 Robert Cota, Farm Bureau FinancialServices, 200 West 2nd Ave., Indianola, Iowa 50125, 515-961-4555 or 515-205-5642.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pro-abortion license plates on the horizon

California may soon have thousands of rolling "billboards" supporting abortion, thanks to proposed legislation that would authorize automobile license plates promoting a woman’s right to choose. Senate Bill 309, authored by Santa Barbara Democrat Hanna-Beth Jackson, would also serve as a fundraising vehicle for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. The bill is sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California, which is also pushing several other pro-abortion bills this year.

In proposing the measure, Jackson took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress, saying their attempts to cut federal funding for to reproductive health care services is what propelled her effort.

“We will not stand idly by and let this happen,” Jackson said, adding, “This license plate represents one way that we can demonstrate that we will stay true to our values and the right of every woman to safe, affordable and quality reproductive health care.

The initial cost for the “California Trusts Women” plates would be $50, but at least 7,500 of them would have to be ordered in advance before manufacturing could begin. The annual renewal fee for the plates would be $40. The plate’s design would be determined through a contest among Golden State artists.

According to a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, the phrase “Trust Women” is a nod to late-term abortion doctor George Tiller. The Kansas doctor was killed by an extremist in 2009 and has become a hero for many abortion supporters.

Not surprisingly, California is not among the 29 states that offer Choose Life license plates. Additionally, groups in 16 other states are working to get similar pro-life plates approved. In fact, California is one of only five states in which there is no active effort for the pro-life specialty plates.

Pregnancy clinics ask Supreme Court to protect them from forced abortion advertising

Washington, DC—A major pro-life case is being filed with the U.S. Supreme Court today that could become one of the biggest abortion-related cases in years. 

At issue is a California law that requires pro-life pregnancy clinics to post signs telling visitors that they can obtain free or low-cost abortions and related services by contacting the county health department.  Similar laws were struck down by federal courts of appeals in New York and Virginia, but the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found nothing wrong with the mandate.  

Pacific Justice Institute represents two pregnancy clinics, one each in Northern and Southern California.  The clinics contend that forcing them to convey a government message that is reprehensible to their beliefs is an egregious violation of the First Amendment.  PJI is filing its brief, known as a Petition for Writ of Certiorari, with the Supreme Court today.  Although most cases have roughly a 1% chance of being granted review by the court, the contradictory rulings by the federal courts of appeals make it much more likely the Supreme Court would weigh in. 

Brad Dacus, president of PJI, and a frequent guest on FOT, commented, “This is an important day for the future of free speech in America.  If the government can force conscientious Americans to advertise for the government and say things that contradict their deeply-held beliefs, our liberties are lost.  We are very hopeful the Supreme Court will take up this case and restore free speech in this crucial area of national debate.”

Monday, March 20, 2017

Parents battle sex-ed in Omaha’s public schools: Next FOT

A local Nebraska group, Nebraskans for Founders Values (NFV), an affiliate of MassResistance, and hundreds of school parents have challenged the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) over a “Comprehensive” sex education program established at all grade levels in the school district. One point of contention is that the sex-ed, homosexuality, and transgender lessons are not only outrageously age-inappropriate, but are saturated with radical LGBT ideology that is incongruent with actual science. is applicable to all grade levels in the school district.

Joining Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday for a discussion of the program and why there is such resistance will be John Dockery, a spokesman for the NFV and parents group. FOT airs every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) and is rebroadcast at 9 p.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94. 94.5 FM and streams on and can be heard anywhere on the Iowa Catholic Radio app that you can download free from the app store.
Faith On Trial is on the air courtesy of 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 Robert Cota, Farm Bureau Financial Services, 200 West 2nd Ave., Indianola, Iowa 50125, 515-961-4555 or 515-205-5642.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ban on late-term baby dismemberment defended before Kansas Supreme Court

Thomas More Society brief argues that state constitution
does not grant “right to abortion”

 (March 16, 2017 – Topeka, Kansas) Today, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit dealing with the state’s law prohibiting the performance of dismemberment (dilation and evacuation) abortions on live, unborn children.  The Thomas More Society’s friend of the court (amicus) brief in Hodes v. Schmidt supports the ban, which is being challenged by two abortionists, Dr. Herbert Hodes and his daughter, Dr. Traci Nauser.  The law was passed by the Kansas legislature and signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback. 

The plaintiffs argue that the measure violates Section One of the Kansas Bill of Rights, which provides that, “all men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Hodes and Nauser insist that this phrasing guarantees a woman a right to abortion at any stage.  A state trial court entered a temporary injunction against the ban and a divided appellate court affirmed that injunction.  

The Thomas More Society brief was filed by Special Counsel Paul Benjamin Linton on behalf of the Family Research Council, a national organization dedicated to promotion of marriage, family and the sanctity of human life. Linton maintains that the Kansas Bill of Rights' provision cited does not create a right to abortion in Kansas and therefore cannot be used to block enforcement of the state law that aims to end the widely-opposed gruesome practice of dismemberment abortions.  

A constitutional scholar, Linton reviews similar provisions from 28 other states, none of which support the view that Kansas' Bill of Rights provision creates a right to abortion. In fact, Kansas outlawed abortion until Roe v. Wade. Linton points out that Kansas courts have never previously interpreted Section One of the Kansas Bill of Rights to create judicially enforceable substantive rights, and he demonstrates that the dismembering of live, unborn children has no foundation in the Kansas constitutional law.   

Read the Brief Amicus Curiae of the Family Research Council filed by the Thomas More Society in the case of Hodes v. Schmidt, heard March 16, 2017, in the Supreme Court of Kansas here.

About Paul Linton

Paul Benjamin Linton, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, is a constitutional scholar based in Northbrook, Illinois. He is the author of a standard legal treatise entitled, Abortion Under State Constitutions, A State-by-State Analysis (Carolina Academic Press, 2nd edition, 2012), for which principal funding was provided by the Thomas More Society. 

About the Thomas More Society

The 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 and Omaha, the Thomas More 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. For more information, visit 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Homeschooling harrassment?

Tuesday we’re going to discuss homeschooling and an apparent overreach by school officials in one Kentucky school district.  Apparently, School officials in the district were dispatched to monitor homeschooling families – similar to the way that parole officers check up on and keep tabs on former inmates.

“Just last month, several families in the Paris Independent School District reported being
Tj Schmidt, HSLDA staff attorney
visited by school officials,” Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt, Tuesday's guest, (see video below) reported.   “If no one was at home, the visit was marked by a doorhanger.”

One of the markers brought to HSLDA’s attention requested a follow-up.
“Home school check. Please give us a call,” read one of the district’s markers, which was signed by the local elementary school’s principal. Schmidt contends that the state’s unwarranted infringement on the education of homeschoolers is not wanted … and not legal.
“Two school officials who visited parent Jenny Griffith at her home said the district intends to visit every home school family three times this year,” Schmidt recounted. “As part of their plan to help families, the school officials asked about attendance records and curriculum. Before leaving, one official asked Jenny about meeting her child. “
Being intimidated by the threatening and intrusive visitation, Griffith contacted HSLDA attorneys for legal advice and possible legal representation if the unwelcomed home invasions continued.
“I got the impression that district staff could become more difficult if I didn't cooperate in answering their questions or bring out my child to meet them,” Jenny explained. “I tried to handle the situation as civilly as possible – without adding any threat to them,” said one parent.
Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday to discuss this and other matters of interest to people of faith. FOT airs at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on as well as our phone app that you can download free from the app store. The program is re-broadcast at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is on the air courtesy of 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 Robert Cota, Farm Bureau FinancialServices, 200 West 2nd Ave., Indianola, Iowa 50125, 515-961-4555 or 515-205-5642.