Friday, April 28, 2017

Teacher bans Cross and forces LGBT agenda on students; our next topic on FOT

TAMPA, FL -- Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to the Hillsborough County Public Schools regarding a teacher who has prohibited Christian jewelry, is engaging in outrageous LGBT political activism in her classroom, and punishes students who do not agree with her LGBT propaganda.

Lora Jane Riedas, a math teacher at Riverview High School, placed LGBT rainbow stickers on her students’ notebooks. Riedas’ classroom d├ęcor blatantly promotes a pro-LGBT agenda. Riedas retweeted, apparently during the school day, “favorite queer web series for kids” from “huffpostqueer” stating: “Here’s how to talk to kids about what it means to be an LGBTQ ally.” She is part of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) Leadership Institute. 
Riedas has prohibited at least three students from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming they are “gang symbols.” One of the crosses, a tiny crucifix worn by
Liberty Counsel’s ninth grade client, is less than one inch long. Riedas demanded the student stop wearing her cross necklace and singled her out for several false “misbehavior” allegations after the student removed the LGBT rainbow sticker from her class notebook. Riedas’ lesbian partner, who is also a teacher at Riverview, dressed as a nun for school spirit week, complete with a “cross necklace” made of skulls. She tweeted she has “a bad habit” and the point is to be “creepy.” 
Riedas is promoting GLSEN’s “Day of Silence” coercive political activities scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, April 21, 2017. GLSEN’s guide encourages teachers to require students ages K-12 to engage in numerous forms of coercive, group political activism, disregarding the parents’ desires or the students’ religious beliefs. Students can either “go along to get along,” or risk being “outed” as disagreeing with the teacher and GLSEN’s radical LGBT viewpoint. Some of the GLSEN coercion includes allowing students “supportive” of “Day of Silence” to refrain from verbal participation in classroom instruction, while those who do not participate in “Day of Silence” must prepare to answer class questions. GLSEN encourages teachers to “print out” LGBT propaganda and “have students read and silently write about what they learned.” 
“The bullying behavior of Lora Jane Riedas is outrageous and unconstitutional,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “A teacher cannot ban students from wearing cross necklaces when other students are permitted to wear secular jewelry. Nor can teachers retaliate against students who refuse to display rainbow stickers on their books to promote an LGBT political agenda. The classroom is for learning, not promoting the LGBT agenda,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thomas More Law Center seeks to pierce veil of secrecy surrounding approval of mosque

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, announced that yesterday afternoon it filed a Public Records Request with Bernards Township on behalf of Township resident Cody Smith.  Mr. Smith had written a scathing letter to the Bernards Township Committee attacking “the stench” of secrecy surrounding the scheduled special meeting which had quickly been called for late Friday, April 21st.

That meeting was subsequently cancelled because of the lack of proper notice.  Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, observed, “Based on the timing of the meeting late in the day on Friday, the meeting agenda, and discovery that resolutions approving the settlements of both the DOJ and the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (Islamic Society) lawsuits had already been filed with the Township clerk, it is probable that a decision had already been secretly made and that the scheduled meeting was a mere formality.”

TMLC represents several Bernards Township residents who were served with intrusive and harassing subpoenas by Islamic Society attorneys.  Their only involvement was to make public comments at a public Township hearing. They were non-parties to the lawsuit, had never had an official role in the Township and had no authority to deny the Islamic Society’s permit request.  Nonetheless, the subpoenas demanded the production of emails, voice mails, text messages, and social media posts concerning Muslims, Islam, or anything to do with Muslim worship.  The subpoenas clearly infringed upon their First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association.  The only purpose of the subpoenas was to punish residents who dared to oppose the Islamic Society’s request.

 Thompson continued: “The Township Committee knows that its motivations for disapproving the proposed zoning changes were completely proper and were not animated by hatred for any person or group.  Unfortunately, the tactics of intimidation waged by the Islamic Society and the deep-state Department of Justice attorneys, appointed by former Attorney General Eric Holder to carry-out his left-wing agenda, may have taken their toll.

“We filed this open records request to obtain the settlement agreements that we believe have already been tacitly agreed upon by the parties.  In doing so, we hope to shine a light on the dark tactics employed by the Islamic Society, its attorneys, and deep-state attorneys within the Department of Justice.”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Neil Gorsuch’s first major Supreme Court case

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer involves the inability of a Christian day care center to access state funds to purchase scrap tires to resurface its playground. The state’s funds were distributed on a competitive basis, but because the day care was run by a church, the state denied funding. The case was argued before the U. S. Supreme Court last week. This link will take you to Deacon Mike Manno’s analysis if this important religious liberty case. It is published in this week's edition of The Wanderer. This case, and the Blaine Amendments, have been the subject of numerous conversations on Faith On Trial.

Monday, April 24, 2017

“Dating Naked” taken off the air; Parents Television Council responds tomorrow on FOT

Melissa Henson
Parents Television Council
The Parents Television Council (PTC) reacted with approval to the decision by the television network VH1 to cancel the reality dating show “Dating Naked.” On the program strangers go on blind dates completely nude. The network rated the program as being appropriate for children.

Tuesday PTC program director Melissa Henson will be joining Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll to discuss the dating program as well as other television programming that is not suitable for children and should be taken off the air such as the FOX program “The Mick” and others.  The mission of PTC is to protect children and families from graphic sex, violence and profanity in the media, because of their proven long-term harmful effects, and Melissa will also discuss their campaigns to clean up the broadcasting media including holding advertisers accountable.
We will also be in the midst of four Spring Care-A-Thon. Iowa Catholic Radio is largely listener supported and any tax-free pledge you can make this week will be greatly appreciated. Just click on the Care-A-Thon link to be taken to the page where you can make a secure pledge.
There is also something new this week: Our program has been extended from one-half hour to forty minutes. So if you are so inclined, let us know what you’d like to see in the extra 10
minutes we’re going to have each week.
Faith On Trial is on every Tuesday at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on and is carried on our free downloadable app which you can find at the app store. The program is rebroadcast at 9 p.m. and past programs can be found on the FOT page on the station’s web site.
And remember, FOT is supported 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 Robert Cota, Farm Bureau Financial Services, 200 West 2nd Ave., Indianola, Iowa 50125, 515-961-4555 or 515-205-5642. Robert will be joining us for part of our program this week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thomas More Law Center wins victory for Bill Donohue and the Catholic League

A victory for Free Speech!  There is no denying it; Bill Donohue, President and CEO of the Catholic League, is one of the fiercest defenders of the Catholic Church on the planet.  I’m sure most of you have seen him on national TV, responding to controversial attacks made on the Church.  So, when he asked the Thomas More Law Center to defend him and the Catholic League in a defamation lawsuit, without hesitation we agreed.  

Beginning in 2014, the case wound its way through both the state and federal courts.  Yesterday, the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Bill Donohue and the Catholic League by affirming a lower court decision dismissing the defamation lawsuit.

Responding to the decision, Erin Mersino, the Thomas More Law Center attorney handling
Erin Mersino
the case, commented: “The three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit reached the just result today.  The lawsuit filed by Jon David Couzens lacked legal merit and required dismissal of all claims.  The Thomas More Law Center exalts the court's decision both as a victory for free speech and as a victory for our legal process that allows meritless and improper lawsuits to be dismissed at the earliest possible time."

The plaintiff still has a right to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court, but hopefully this decision ends the matter. 

You can read the 8th US. Circuit Court opinion here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bill would prevent pro-life groups from practicing their beliefs

Sacramento, CA—Legislation now making its way through the California Legislature could have the startling effect of preventing pro-life schools, organizations, and even churches from practicing what they preach.

AB 569 by Assembly member Gonzales-Fletcher (D-San Diego) claims that reproductive choices—such as abortion—should be no concern of religious employers.  The sweeping legislation would therefore require employers—with no listed exceptions—to drop all expectations that employees respect the sanctity of life in their own lives.  Thus, a Christian school that teaches life begins at conception or a pro-life advocacy organization would be expected under the new rules to ignore employee conduct that contradicts those stated beliefs.

The Pacific Justice Institute – Center for Public Policy (PJI-CPP) is sending a detailed opposition letter to legislators today.  The next key hearing for AB 569 is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  PJI has also prepared an analysis of the bill in question-and-answer format and contact information for all committee members who are expected to consider and vote on the bill.  PJI-CPP strongly encourages citizens, church leaders, schools, and pro-life advocates to begin making phone calls to legislative offices in advance of next week’s hearing.  

Brad Dacus, the president of PJI-CPP and frequent FOT guest, commented, “This latest attempt by our Legislature to strangle voices of conscience is unjust and unconstitutional.  There is no true religious freedom without the freedom to put faith into practice, both as an individual and as a religious community.”

Anti-therapy bill killed in Colorado with help from Conservative groups

A bill that would deny needed therapy for children who were sexually molested or had unwanted homosexual or transgender psychological issues was derailed in the Colorado Legislature -- after MassResistance Colorado and other groups gave strong, hard-hitting pro-family testimony.
The failed Colorado bill, H17-1156, is part of a big push by the radical LGBT lobby in state legislatures across the country.
The bill would have denied parents the right to seek licensed therapists to help their children deal with unwanted homosexual and transgender issues. But it would have allowed children to receive therapy that would provide “acceptance and support” for such behaviors. It would also allow therapy to assist a child “undergoing gender transition.” (Text of bill.)
The bill had already passed the Colorado House of Representatives by 38-26 on March 7, 2017. It had been sent to the Senate’s State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee before going to the Senate Floor. On March 22, 2017, the Committee conducted a public hearing on the bill, to be followed by a vote on it by the Committee members.
At the hearing, dozens of seasoned LGBT activists filled the hearing room and signed up to testify. It included the usual anger, emotion, misinformation, junk science and hysteria against the very idea of allowing children help in dealing with these issues. Parents were portrayed as unqualified to decide for their own children because they might be “heterosexist” or “heteronormative” – or just plain "bigoted" and ignorant. All kinds of bizarre and unproven stories about how so-called “conversion therapy” causes suicide and depression were offered as fact.
However, a handful of unflinching pro-family people from MassResistance Colorado, Colorado Family Action, and other groups, came and stepped up to the plate and told the truth. They talked about how schools (in concert with radical groups) are making horrible pornography available to kids to help make them addicted to these thoughts. The pro-family testimony exposed the agenda of the LGBT movement, which aims to take away parents’ constitutional rights to help their own children. One woman testified about her own experience being sexually molested as a 6-year-old, and how devastating it would be not to have professional help dealing with the terrible feelings and desires that came from that.

Becket to court: God is not a dirty word

Becket pushes back against atheist group attacking motto “In God We Trust”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Becket urged a court today to protect the national motto “In God We Trust” from an atheist attempt to scrub “God” from all facets of public life. The national motto “In God We Trust” is based on the national anthem and first appeared on U.S. currency in 1864, but atheist activist Dr. Michael Newdow is suing in two different courts on behalf of a group of atheists to now have the words stripped from all U.S. coins and bills.
Newdow argues that printing the motto on money is a government establishment of religion
and puts a “burden” on atheists’ “exercise of religion” – even though Newdow and the group of atheists suing specifically reject all religion. Today, Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to defend the motto.
“This is not Iran or Saudi Arabia,” said Diana Verm, legal counsel at Becket. “No reasonable person would pick up a penny, see the words ‘In God We Trust,’ and panic because we’ve become a theocracy.”
This is Newdow’s latest in a long series of attempts to have the national motto removed from coins. In 2014, his lawsuit in the Second Circuit in New York was rejected outright after he claimed that “In God We Trust” violated the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from establishing a state religion or favoring one religion over another. In February, Becket filed a friend-of-the-court-brief defending the national motto from yet another one of Dr. Newdow’s lawsuits in the Sixth Circuit.
This time, Dr. Newdow is making both arguments: that the national motto both violates the Establishment Clause and “burdens his religious exercise.” In its brief, Becket explains that for the Founders who wrote the First Amendment, an “establishment of religion” meant an official state church with government funding, government control, and fusion of church and state – and putting the national motto on our coins and bills is none of those things.
“‘God’ is not a dirty word,” said Verm. “Dr. Newdow has every right to hold his beliefs, but he doesn’t have the right to impose them on the rest of us.”

Another woman being starved against her and her family's wishes

Please pray for Anastasia Adams, who is being starved to death at a Virginia nursing facility. Anastasia suffered a brain injury in 2005 and is wheelchair bound, but able to speak and interact with her family. Life Legal was contacted by her sister Yolanda, who has been caring for Anastasia for over 12 years.

Several months ago, Anastasia developed a large blood clot while in INOVA Hospital in Virginia. The hospital refused to treat her and ordered that Anastasia be discharged. When Yolanda refused to move her sister out of INOVA, the hospital took her took court and had their own guardians appointed to handle Anastasia’s care. The guardians sent Anastasia to a nursing home, where she suffered four injuries in two weeks, including a broken hip.

The guardians have refused to authorize treatment for Anastasia's injuries. Instead, they placed her in hospice care at a Golden Living nursing facility. The guardians obtained a court order prohibiting Yolanda from seeing her sister.

Yolanda has just learned that the facility is trying to starve Anastasia to death.

Here are two videos of Anastasia—one taken before she was admitted to the hospital and one taken at the nursing facility last Saturday showing Anastasia’s shocking decline:

"I miss my sister terribly,” said Yolanda Bell. “I can only imagine what she is going through, she must think I have abandoned her. I have trouble sleeping. I close my eyes and see her being beaten and abused. I hear her crying out in pain begging me to help her."

The family is Catholic and Anastasia has communicated that she wants to live. Yesterday, Yolanda tried to arrange for a priest to visit Anastasia, but the guardians denied the visit.

“Tragically, we are seeing an exponential increase in cases where patients are intentionally starved to death because someone has arbitrarily determined that their lives no longer have value,” stated Alexandra Snyder, Executive Director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, and last week's guest on FOT. “Anastasia is targeted for death simply because she is disabled. But she can speak, feel pain, and fully understand what is happening to her. She is being tortured to death by health professionals who have it in their capacity to provide care and treatment.”

Islamic Society with questionable background joins forces with Justice Department to intimidate citizens opposing mosque

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”) has learned that the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (“ISBR”), which was trying to obtain zoning changes to build a mosque in Bernards Township, NJ, has hidden from public view anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses on its website, as well as its connection to the Islamic Society of North America (“ISNA”) — an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in America. ISNA is claimed by the Muslim Brotherhood as one of “our organizations and . . . our friends.” According to internal documents seized by the FBI, the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to engage in a “grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within . . .”—one of the stages of this civilization jihad is the building of mosques and Islamic centers.

Plaintiffs ISBR and Mohammad Ali Chaudry sued in March 2016, claiming that the denial of zoning changes to permit a mosque violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) of 2000 and reflected community “religious and cultural animus against Muslims.” Within a week of the ISBR lawsuit, the Justice Department launched its own investigation and filed its own lawsuit.
While a visible link to the quotes below was once contained on the ISBR website, ISBR has now taken the extraordinary step of hiding the links from public view. Accordingly, the quotes cannot be found through a simple internet search or a view of the public portion of ISBR’s website, they can only be found by access to the direct links here:
The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI entered the case solely to protect the constitutional rights of several Bernards Township citizens who exercised their fundamental right to publicly oppose proposed zoning changes.
These private citizens had no authority to deny the zoning application; nor did they have any official role in the Township. Nevertheless, they were served with burdensome and harassing subpoenas which demanded: all their email addresses and social media accounts; all personal documents including emails, voicemails, text messages, and social media posts concerning Muslims, Islam, mosques, the Quran, Muslim worship or prayer services, wudu, imams, burkas, hijabs, Sharia, jihad, or anything else associated with or related to Muslims or Islam; any object inscribed with or containing the words “Preserve Liberty Corner,” or anti-mosque signs, flyers, banners, email messages, or pamphlets, distributed or otherwise existing at any time within the Township. In addition, Department of Justice (“DOJ”) lawyers began a new front of intimidation by directly contacting these private citizens, asking them to come in for interviews concerning the mosque.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, stated: “Under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the Justice Department, using politically driven DOJ attorneys, weaponized itself against fundamental constitutional principles to intimidate American citizens with whom they disagreed. Immediately after the San Bernardino terrorist attack and just months before DOJ inserted itself into this case, Ms. Lynch made the infamous statement chilling free speech: ‘…when we see the potential for someone lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric…. when we see that we will take action.’ This is exactly what happened to the citizens of Bernards Township. DOJ attorneys initiated a deep state inquisition, seeking to bring citizens objecting to the mosque in for questioning.”
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values. It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America. The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at

Monday, April 17, 2017

Next FOT: Bill that would protect Christian adoption and foster care agencies from liberal 'anti-discrimination' laws

Hillary Byrnes, Assistant General
Counsel for USCCB
Over the years we’ve reported on state and local laws that have prevented Catholic Charities and other organizations from providing adoption and foster care services because of legal requirements to place children in households headed by two persons of the same sex. Responding to these problems, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-PA, has introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017. It would protect the religious liberties of child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care agencies.

The Act would prohibit the federal government and any state that receives certain federal funding from discriminating against service providers on the basis that they provide child welfare services in a manner consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions. The bill is opposed by several LBGT and liberal civil rights organizations but is supported by the religious community, including the U. S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops (USCCB).
Joining the discussion Tuesday morning will be Hillary Byrnes, Assistant General Counsel for the USCCB and now serves as lead staff to the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, which the U.S. bishops established in 2011 to address growing concerns over the erosion of freedom of religion in America. Hillary also focuses on legal issues affecting Catholic education in the U.S.
She graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School, cum laude, where she was an Article Editor of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. She also served on Notre Dame Law School’s Jessup International Law Moot Court Team, which competed in Aberdeen, Scotland. Hillary is a member of the bar of New York, the District of Columbia, and has been admitted to practice before several federal trial and appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court.
Faith On Trial airs every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streams on It can also be heard on our Iowa Catholic Radio app which can be downloaded from the App Store. The program is rebroadcast Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Podcasts of earlier programs can be found here.
Faith On Trial is supported 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 Robert Cota, Farm Bureau Financial Services, 200 West 2nd Ave., Indianola, Iowa 50125, 515-961-4555 or 515-205-5642.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Notorious Kansas abortion clinic at center of pro-Life legal victories

Thomas More Society defends trio of those attacked while speaking against abortion 
WICHITA, KS – April 13 – The Wichita, Kansas, abortion clinic once owned by the late abortionist George Tiller has been at the center of several attacks against individuals speaking out for the sanctity of human life. Most recently, abortion facility security guard Carl Swinney was convicted of assaulting Jennifer McCoy after he brutally attacked her in front of her terrified children outside the clinic. McCoy is the fourth person whose rights have been assailed by abortionist Julie Burkhart or her staff outside the South Wind Women’s Center. The Thomas More Society assisted McCoy in securing Swinney’s prosecution, defended pro-life advocate Mark Gietzen and the Kansas Coalition for Life, is currently defending David Schmidt, and is representing Pastor Mark Holick in a federal court case against abortionist Burkhart.
McCoy and Gietzen are members of the Kansas Coalition for Life. For many years, they have joined other members in daily vigils outside the abortion clinic. In an always-peaceful routine, they arrive in the morning, stand holding signs or stand near signs placed on the ground, and take all the signs with them when they leave eight hours later. 
The latest round of conflicts began when clinic owner Burkhart obtained a fraudulent protection order against Pastor Holick. Pastor Holick fought the order for two years, at great personal cost, and Burkhart was eventually forced to dismiss the invalid case. (Link to Federal Court in Favor of Pastor Holick).
In 2016, Burkhart convinced City of Wichita authorities to come to her abortion facility, forcibly confiscate a large number of pro-life signs, and press criminal charges against Mr. Gietzen.  
In quick succession, Pastor Holick filed suit in federal court against Burkhart to recover his losses from her baseless protection order, Mrs. McCoy was attacked by Swinney, and Mr. Schmidt (who is elderly and largely blind) was robbed by another South Wind security guard, John Rayburn, who brazenly took his sign from him on the public right of way, despite Schmidt’s obvious objection and physical resistance. On account of Mr. Schmidt’s reasonable resistance to Rayburn’s thuggery, Rayburn then had Mr. Schmidt charged with assault.  
Niether Holick, Gietzen, McCoy, nor Schmidt did anything illegal or even unreasonable. Rather, they have suffered blatant abuse at the hands of abortionist Burkhart and those assisting her. But under the representation of Thomas More Society attorney Martin Cannon, Mrs. McCoy secured the prosecution and conviction of Swinney, Mr. Gietzen was found not guilty, and the city was ordered to return the coalition’s many signs. Cannon also joined with local attorney Don McKinney on Pastor Holick’s federal court case, and the two have defeated a multicount motion to dismiss by Burkhart’s legal team, so the case is now on its way to trial. Cannon and local attorney Peter Orsi are currently preparing for Mr. Schmidt’s jury trial, and fully expect to vindicate him of the baseless assault charge.
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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Becket website: Everything you need to know about religious liberty

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Becket, the leading religious liberty law firm, launched its new website, featuring a comprehensive database for every case, issue and resource on religious liberty, displayed with bold images and cutting-edge design. The launch coincides with its new brand: Becket – Religious Liberty for All, to reintroduce Becket’s timeless mission to defend religious liberty for all faiths and in all areas – from individual rights to the public square – with a sleek, media-savvy look.

The interactive site can be viewed from all platforms, with a streamlined design that makes for straightforward and engaging access. New features include:
A new Track This Case feature allows you to stay up-to-date on latest case developments.
A comprehensive legal library spanning virtually every religious liberty case categorized by area of practice, such as free speech, education, the public square and more.
Becket’s top Supreme Court victories and other precedent-setting cases, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, Holt v. Hobbs, Hobby Lobby and Hosanna Tabor, called by the Wall Street Journal “among the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”
Hundreds of case pages that delve into the stories of Becket’s clients of diverse faiths, such as Pastor Robert Soto of the Lipan Apache Tribe, a faithful Sikh Army Captain, two Muslim police officers, and a Santeria priest.
A wealth of primary legal sources and press releases for Becket cases.
Revamped resource databases such as HHS Information Central and RFRA Central, which each provide in-depth information and infographics regarding all lawsuits against the Health & Human Services mandate and all cases brought under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
“As the go-to source for religious liberty, Becket is proud to provide the same wealth of information but in a more visually dynamic way, creating a more intuitive experience,” said Melinda Skea, communications director of Becket. “Our legal work has always been cutting edge, and now our website reflects the modern urgency and importance of our mission to defend religious liberty for all.’”
In February Becket unveiled a bold, modern logo with refreshed colors and updated its name to a shorthand and tagline: Becket – Religious Liberty for All. The new brand serves to reintroduce its timeless mission to protect religious freedom in a modern, media-savvy society.
Founded in 1994 by Kevin “Seamus” Hasson, Becket is the premier non-profit, public-interest religious liberty law firm in the U.S. and the only firm that protects the free expression of all religious traditions. Becket is supported by charitable donations and has a 100 percent win-rate before the United States Supreme Court.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Families place women in hospice to die, but patients have different ideas: Next FOT

Alexandra Snyder
Executive director, Life Legal
On this week’s FOT we’re going to cover a couple of cases involving two women in their 30’s who were placed in hospice care after suffering a temporary lack of oxygen to the brain. One was starved for 10 days and the other for 34 days, yet only a few weeks later both women were talking and walking however in each case there are continuing issues dealing with their legal representatives who are either not providing for proper care or not acting in the best interest of the client but those who wanted to allow her to die.

In one case the woman who had been placed in hospice care started moving her arms and legs and attempted to get out of bed. Instead of providing medical care, the hospice facility gave her morphine. A close friend of the woman called Life Legal Defense Foundation who began legal proceedings to assist her.

Joining Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll to discuss these cases will be Alexandra Snyder, executive director of Life Legal. FOT airs every Tuesday at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM, 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on and on our live app that you can download from the app store. On our website you can also access podcasts of previous programs. The program will re-air at 9 p.m.

And remember: Beginning with the Car-a-thon the week of April 24, all Iowa Catholic Radio morning programs beginning at 9 a.m. will be extended from one-half hour to forty minutes! AND our new and vastly improved web camera will be up and working when we move into our new, permanent downtown studio in (hopefully) June.

Faith On Trial is sponsored by your 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.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Good Friday “A Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion” underscores our shared guilt

As Christians Mark Christ’s Crucifixion the Atrocity of 60 Million Dead Babies Hits Hard

(April 7, 2017 – Chicago, IL) As Christians worldwide mark the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, April 14, 2017, the Pro-Life Action League leads Christians across America in A Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion, commemorating the deaths of nearly 60 million children lost to abortion since its legalization in 1973. Abortion facilities coast-to coast will be visited by somber crowds engaged in prayer and meditation on this Christian holy day.

“No one is untouched by the crushing guilt upon our society for allowing the deliberate destruction of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters,” explained Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and national coordinator of the event. “Whether we have actively supported so-called ‘reproductive rights’ or we’ve merely looked the other way while these children’s lives are ended, their blood is on our hands.”

“There are many things wrong in our world today, but this intentional killing of our young is among the most heinous. As Christians, we seek Christ’s forgiveness for our sins.  This sin of killing our own children is one that our society must repent of. If we cannot protect the infant in the womb, we will never truly be a civilized, compassionate people. As long as we continue to discard unborn babies, all our efforts to help the poor, needy and disenfranchised ring hollow.”

Scheidler noted his concern that the political battles of the day over abortion can overshadow the injustice being done to unborn children. “Abortion isn’t just a political issue or a moral question. Children at the most fragile state of human life are actually dying by the thousands every day. And every day, mothers who have chosen abortion suffer for making that choice. On Good Friday, we will remember all those touched by abortion, and offer our deepest prayers.”

Solemn Good Friday prayer vigils will be held at abortion clinics across the country, many of them affiliates of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion franchise. A list of vigil locations nationwide is available here.

Click here to watch a two-minute video documenting A Way of the Cross for Victims of Abortion.

About the Pro-Life Action League

The Pro-Life Action League was founded by Joe Scheidler in 1980 with the aim of saving babies from abortion through direct action. Not content to await a political or judicial solution to abortion, the League seeks to stop the killing of unborn children right now through all available peaceful means, including public protest, sidewalk counseling, education, youth outreach, and national leadership.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Iowa State changes policy that said ‘protected speech activities’ can be punished as ‘harassment’

Settlement ensures students no longer have to give up free speech to graduate

DES MOINES, Iowa – (Tuesday, April 4) Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have settled a lawsuit with officials at Iowa State University, bringing an end to unconstitutional policies at the school which expressly warn that “engaging in First Amendment protected speech activities” may be punished as “harassment.” On behalf of a student, ADF attorneys challenged the policies, with which the university required students to certify compliance before they could graduate.

“The First Amendment requires America’s public colleges and universities to recognize the constitutionally protected freedoms of all students,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “We commend the university for agreeing to correct its policies so that students no longer have to give up free speech in order to graduate.”

ADF attorneys filed suit against Iowa State officials in October of last year and asked for a court order to strike down the unconstitutional policies and halt their enforcement. University officials had confirmed that if student Robert Dunn, who leads Iowa State’s Young Americans for Freedom student group, or any other student declined to certify that he would comply with the university’s policies, his graduation could be placed on “hold.”

The policies, which concerned student behavior and expression, specified that they “may cover those activities which, although not severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to meet the legal definition of harassment, are unacceptable…” and explained that even “First Amendment protected speech activities” may constitute harassment “depending on the circumstances,” including whether other students believe the speech is not “legitimate,” not “necessary,” or lacks a “constructive purpose.” Violation of the policies could result in expulsion.

“Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, commissioners, and voters,” Mattox explained. “That’s why it’s so important that public universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students, and why it should disturb everyone when any university or college communicates to a generation that the Constitution doesn’t matter.”

The settlement agreement reached with university officials in Dunn v. Leath was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Central Division. Timm W. Reid of Des Moines is local counsel for Dunn and one of nearly 3,200 attorneys allied with ADF.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Planned Parenthood supporter, now state attorney general, files 15 felonies against undercover reporter who exposed PP’s baby-parts sales business; next FOT the defense has the floor

Matthew Heffron
Thomas More Society
While the selling of baby parts is illegal the only criminal complaints filed in the Planned Parenthood undercover video matter have been filed against the undercover journalist to exposed PP’s sultry business of selling fetal parts. 

David Daleiden’s exposure of PP has caused uproar, none more vicious than that from PP itself. Unable to deny what was plainly done, PP turned to its political supporters to go after David Daleiden and none turned out to be a better friend than new California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former congressman with a 100% voting record supporting Planned Parenthood and who after received financial support from PP decided to charge David with 15 felonies rather than to investigate PP’s baby-parts business.  

Daleiden’s videos can be seen on his web page, The Center for
David Daleiden
Center for Medical Progress
Medical Progress, here.

The criminal charges were called a “witch hunt” by Alexandra Snyder, executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation and a former FOT guest herself. 

Tuesday Matthew Heffron of the Thomas More Society, one of David’s attorneys will join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll to discuss the “Daleiden affair” that is now before the state courts in California. 

So join Deacon Mike and Gina at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on-line at and available on our downloadable app for a lively discussion of this and other matters of interest to people of faith. The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m. and podcasts of previous programs can be found here. And don’t forget our new text line where you can comment or ask questions during the program: 515-223-1150. 

FOT 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.