Monday, July 31, 2017

“Queer theology” in U.K. Sunday schools and the Catholic perspective on end of life issues on next FOT

Dr. Martin Parsons, The Barnabas Fund
Recently the British government demanded that seminaries in the United Kingdom include a “queer theology” in their courses and a directive that Sunday schools must also incorporate LGBT beliefs for children.

The directive came from a report by Wilton Park, an agency of the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office which said that a reinterpretation of scripture was needed to make it compatible with LGBT theology. The Barnabas Fund, a Christian group serving persecuted Christians globally, has condemned the report saying if the report were implemented it “would massively reverse freedom of religion across the globe.”

Joining Deacon Mike Manno and Pam Briddell Tuesday to discuss this matter will be Dr. Martin Parsons, head of research and director of studies for Barnabas Fund – aid agency supporting persecuted Christians. Dr. Parsons has a PhD in Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. He has previously worked for a number of years in two countries in the Islamic world where Christians are either openly persecuted (Afghanistan) or face significant discrimination and individual acts of persecution (Pakistan).

Laura Wenman
Mercy Hospital Des Moines
After Dr. Parsons, we’ll be joined by Laura Wenman, chair of the ethics committee at Mercy Hospital to discuss issues surrounding end of life medical decisions. Laura will discuss the Catholic perspective as well as the recent case of Little Charlie Gard, the 11 month old infant that a London hospital went to court, successfully, to remove the baby’s life support and to prevent the parents from seeking treatment elsewhere.

This will be an interesting hour filled with topics that are currently in the news. Join Deacon Mike and Pam at 10 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming live on You can also access the program on our free downloadable app from the app store. The program will be rebroadcast at 10 p.m. and podcasts of previous programs can be found here.

Faith On Trial is on the air courtesy of our loyal sponsors and underwriters: 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, and listeners like you. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Transgender ideology is child abuse and Jesus in the Courtroom, this week on FOT

Two interesting guests for this week’s program: Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the
Dr. Michelle Cretella
American College of Pediatricians and religious liberty attorney John W. Mauck.

Dr. Cretella recently penned an article for The Daily Signal, “I’m a Pediatrician. How Transgender Ideology has Infiltrated My Field and Produced Large-Scale Child Abuse.” And John has recently authored a book: Jesus In The Courtroom, on how prayer has aided his fight for religious liberties.
You can click on the title to Dr. Cretella’s article above to read it and you can click on the book cover on the right to purchase John’s book.
John W. Mauck
In addition we’ll report on other news that affect people of faith. Join us every Tuesday at 10 (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on  Podcasts of earlier programs can be found following this link.
Faith On Trial is on the air courtesy of our loyal sponsors and underwriters: 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; as well as benefactors like you.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Surrogacy contract gone wrong and media corruption of our youth: Next FOT

Sometimes it seems that attacks on sensibilities never ends: Teen magazines encouraging anal sex and a surrogacy contract gone wrong.

Brian Burch, president
In California Melissa Cook, became pregnant with triplets as a result of a surrogacy contract. The “buyer” of the babies demanded that she abort one of the children and Melissa refused.

After the babies were born premature, the hospital took the babies, did not allow her to hold them, and refused to tell her how they were doing. The “buyer” appeared and ultimately the hospital send the children with him to Georgia where the hospital staff became so concerned about the “buyer” they referred the matter to the Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services.
Melissa contacted (CV) for help and the case is on appeal to the Supreme Court in a major challenge to the surrogacy laws in the United States.
Joining us for a discussion of this case will be Brian Burch, president and co-founder of CV, a national faith-based advocacy organization headquartered in Chicago.  CV was founded to organize, inspire and mobilize the Catholic vote through education, legislative advocacy, and direct political action.  Brian is also the co-author of the American Catholic Almanac, a daily reader of notable American saints, sinners, heroes and rogues that have shaped American public life. 
On another issue, Teen Vogue, a magazine for teenage girls, recently published a new “tutorial” for its young readers on how to have anal sex. This continues a seemingly continuous effort by the mainstream media to corrupt the morals and social sensibilities of the nation.
Joining us for a discussion of this matter will be a returning guest, Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center (MRC). He is a veteran editor with more than three decades of experience in print and online media and has appeared on Fox News, the Fox Business Network, CNN, CNN HN, CBS, NBC, CNBC, EWTN, The Blaze, Newsmax TV and has a regular spot on the One America News Network. Prior to joining the MRC, Dan served as an editor
Dan Gainor
at several newspapers including The Washington Times and The Baltimore News American. and History at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Gainor lives in Maryland and volunteers as a media and issues speaker with the Close-Up Foundation.
So join Deacon Mike Manno and Pam Briddell Tuesday at 10 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM, and streaming on Podcasts of earlier programs can be found here. Tuesday’s program will be re-broadcast at 10 p.m.
FOT is on the air courtesy of our loyal sponsors and underwriters: 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.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Court protects Catholic school’s right to choose its leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A victory for schools of all faiths, a New York court ruled today that St. Anthony School and the Roman Archdiocese of New York can choose a principal who shares their faith. The ruling in Fratello v. Archdiocese of New York strengthens the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision Becket secured five years ago, ensuring that a Lutheran school, not the state, gets to choose leaders who agree with its mission.

[See video below]

Today’s court decision rejected the arguments of the opposing trial lawyer who publicly accused the Catholic Church of being “dangerous to society,” the Russian Orthodox Church as “indoctrinating children with Stalinist communism,” and the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision as an aid to “potential jihadists.” Rejecting these outrageous claims, the Manhattan court focused on the law, stating that religions must be free to choose their leaders: “a stammering Moses was chosen to lead the people, and a scrawny David to slay a giant.”
“The court saw right through this blatantly anti-Catholic lawsuit, agreeing with the Supreme Court that the church, not the state, should pick religious leaders,” said Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at Becket, a non-profit religious liberty law firm, who argued the case for St. Anthony’s and the Archdiocese. “Now St. Anthony’s can go back to giving their students a quality education in the arts, sciences and faith.”
As principal of St. Anthony School, Joanne Fratello was a religious leader responsible for leading students in daily prayer, inviting and accompanying them to mass, ensuring their curriculum and teachers expressed Catholic faith, and hosting them at religious ceremonies. When the school believed she was no longer effective at advancing the school’s Catholic values, St. Anthony’s simply did not renew her contract, rightfully exercising its right to choose the leaders who advance their faith. Yet the trial lawyer claimed that the school was not allowed to hire the principal who would best promote the Church’s teachings.
Becket represented St. Anthony School and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals along with James P. McCabe and Roderick J. Cassidy of the Archdiocese and Kenneth Novikoff and Barry Levy of Rivkin Radler LLP.
Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths.


Court to weigh HOA's attempted exclusion of “Undesirable” groups

Bakersfield, CA—The latest move by a homeowners’ association in its efforts to curb religious activity by senior citizens is raising eyebrows and landing the HOA back in court.

Late last year, the HOA of Solera at Kern Canyon, a retirement community in Bakersfield, suspended three Bible studies and a Sunday worship service following a complaint by an atheist.  After one of the believers filed suit just before Christmas, the HOA Board reluctantly allowed the four groups to resume meeting in the community clubhouse while the Board considered additional restrictions. 

After months of secretive deliberations, the Board voted on June 26 to approve new restrictions on interest groups.  One provision aimed at the believers is a prohibition on similar groups.  Over the last several years, a men’s Bible study, two women’s Bible studies and a Sunday worship service have formed as interest in the groups has grown.  Despite repeated requests for clarification from Pacific Justice Institute, which represents the leadership of the four groups, the HOA’s attorneys have refused to say which of the groups will be eliminated under the new plan. 

Even more alarming to the believers is a provision in the new rules that gives the HOA Board authority to revoke any group deemed to be causing an “undesirable” or “embarrassing situation.”  Although the Sunday worship is the best-attended weekly event held in the clubhouse, and the four groups average about 100 attendees each week, some residents have taken exception to the groups’ resort to court after they were abruptly suspended last year.  An anonymous letter posted in the community called the believers “church fanatics” and “a disgrace,” giving the HOA a basis for suspending them again at any time.    
After the HOA’s attorneys would not agree that the “undesirable” and “embarrassing’ exclusion was unenforceable, PJI attorneys filed a 68-page Motion for Preliminary Injunction and supporting documents this week to ensure the Bible studies and worship service can continue.

Brad Dacus, president of PJI and a frequent guest on FOT, commented, “It is a privilege to represent these senior saints who are living their lives to the fullest.  They simply seek to make available worship and Bible studies to those with limited mobility who rarely venture outside their retirement community.”

Matthew McReynolds, the senior staff attorney at PJI who filed the motion, added, “It is surprising that, with such strong anti-discrimination laws on the books, this HOA thinks it can continue a campaign of harassment and hostility toward senior citizens who simply want to worship and seek God in peace.  No one can be deemed undesirable and excluded from a community based on their faith or any other protected status.”

The hearing is scheduled for August 7 in Kern County Superior Court.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

ADF to ABC News: Retract defamatory story, issue apology

Kerri Kupec, ADF
Director of Communications
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel and Director of Communications Kerri Kupec regarding ABC News’ abandonment of objectivity in repeating false accusations against ADF made by the ultra-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center:

“ABC News has committed journalistic malpractice. For ABC News to essentially cut and paste false charges against Alliance Defending Freedom by a radically left-wing, violence-inciting organization like Southern Poverty Law Center is a discredit to ABC News and to the profession. Americans’ trust in media is cratering, and the blatant bias and lack of professionalism that ABC attempted to pass off as news can only serve to confirm and intensify that distrust.

“Alliance Defending Freedom is one of the most respected and successful Supreme Court advocates in the legal profession, having won seven cases at the high court in the last seven years. Southern Poverty Law Center spends its time and money attacking veterans, nuns, Muslims who oppose terrorism, Catholics, Evangelicals, and anyone else who dares disagree with its far-left ideology. Meanwhile, ADF works every day to preserve and affirm free speech and the free exercise of religion for people from all walks of life and all backgrounds because we believe freedom is for everyone.

“For the sake of its own integrity, ABC News should issue an apology to Alliance Defending Freedom and retract the defamatory story it published Wednesday.”

FOT host, Deacon Mike Manno, concurs with the ADF demand. "The Southern Poverty Law Center was once a respected civil rights organization, but over the past few years has lowered itself into a left-wing propaganda unit. With this it has lowered itself into the mud." 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Parkland High School and Parkland School District sued for violating students’ First Amendment rights

Thomas More Society Files Lawsuit against School on Behalf of Pro-Life Students

(July 11, 2016 – Allentown, PA) – Thomas More Society has filed a lawsuit against Parkland High School and Parkland School District on behalf of students Elizabeth (Liz) Castro and Grace Schairer. The lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, claims that school administrators have violated Liz and Grace’s free speech rights by denying their application to form a Students for Life club at the school and then conditioning approval on the students giving up certain speech rights.
“Parkland’s initial denial and later attempt to impose extra requirements on Liz and Grace’s club are a far cry from the law’s requirement that schools treat student clubs equally in every respect,” said Jocelyn Floyd, special counsel for Thomas More Society. “We hope that the court will quickly recognize the illegal and unconstitutional way the school has treated Liz and Grace and require Parkland High School to uphold their rights under both the First Amendment and Equal Access Act.”
Liz Castro and Grace Schairer first approached the Parkland administration about starting Trojans for Life in September 2016.  After numerous meetings and submitting a formal club proposal, their club was denied in March for being too political and controversial.  Liz and Grace reached out for assistance to Students for Life of America (SFLA), a national organization that provides support to student pro-life clubs. 
SFLA’s attorneys at the Thomas More Society sent a demand letter to the school and the school district, challenging the administrators’ denial of the club as a violation of the federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Society asked for the school to approve the club, giving it full access to the school’s established expressive forum, equal to all other clubs.
In response, the district said it would approve the club—but only if Elizabeth and Grace changed the club’s mission, abandoned certain activities, and gave up their rights to fundraise.  Far from treating Trojans for Life equally, these are demands that no other clubs are required to meet.
“The school is treating us like second-class citizens because we want to create a culture of life and be a positive influence to our peers,” said Grace Schairer, who will be a senior this coming fall at Parkland High School.  “We want to educate our fellow students about abortion and at the same time be a visible resource for our peers facing unplanned pregnancies.  The school has made it clear that it will not allow us to have this type of club, so we decided to file the lawsuit.  We are hoping for a quick resolution so Trojans for Life can hit the ground running at the start of the fall semester, along with all the other clubs at Parkland High School.”
“Holding pro-life views and wanting to create a culture of life on campus is not grounds for the blatant discrimination shown by school administrators,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.  “It is our hope that Parkland High School swiftly allows the Students for Life at the school the same rights granted to every other group on campus.”
The Thomas More Society’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with assistance from local co-counsel Christopher G. Sweet of the American Catholic Lawyers Association, Inc., asks for the court to order Parkland School District to approve Trojans for Life with the rights and privileges granted to all other clubs.
About the Thomas More Society: Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The case of the baby, 11 month old Charlie Gard, that British courts have condemned to death; and FRC’s new report on hostility to religion.

Baby Charile and his mother
We begin in our new time with the sad case of little Charlie Gard, the British baby given a death sentence over his parents’ objections. Little Charlie was born with the rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). His parents, Christ Gard and Connie Yates, rejected suggestions to abort Charlie before he was born and are now engaged in a legal battle to keep him alive.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, where Charlie is being treated, wanted his mechanical ventilation removed to allow Charlie to die because he had a “life not worth living.” The parents wanted to take Charlie to the United States for an experimental treatment that might keep him alive. The hospital took the parents to court and received a court order to remove Charlie from life-support. All appeals, including to the European Court
Alexandra Snyder
Life Legal Foundation
of Human Rights were denied.
Both Pope Francis and President Trump have tried to intervene on Charlie’s behalf but the British government refuses to cooperate; however a new hearing in the case has been set for this week.
Joining Deacon Mike Manno and Pam Briddell to discuss this matter will be Alexandra Snyder, executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation. Alexandra has a long history of caring for all aspects of life. Prior to joining Life Legal, she worked as counsel and policy director for a nationwide organization that provides safe housing for young women who have been rescued from human trafficking. She has operated a small legal clinic that offered pro bono consultation and services to victims of abuse and exploitation. She continues to serve as a consultant on law and policy matters to several anti-trafficking organizations and also an adjunct professor at Trinity Law School in Orange County, Calif., where she teaches a course on the Right to Life.
After Alexandra we’re going to turn our attention to a new report released by the Family Research Council (FRC),“Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States.” The author of the 40-page report, Travis Weber, director of the FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, will also join us.
Travis Weber
Family Research Council
As director of the Center for Religious Liberty, Travis focuses on a variety of legal and policy issues pertaining to religious freedom. In his current role, Travis advises FRC on international and domestic religious freedom issues, and advocates for religious freedom on behalf of FRC in a variety of forums. Before joining FRC, Travis practiced law in the areas of civil rights, criminal defense, and military law. A Naval Academy graduate, he previously served as a Navy pilot.
So join Deacon Mike and Pam for an interesting hour discussing these topics as well as other matters of interest to people of faith. FOT airs at its new time 10 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM; and streams on our website, and can also be heard by downloading our free app from the app store. The program will be re-broadcast at 10 p.m. and it, as well as older programs, may be heard at our page on the station’s web site here.
FOT is on the air courtesy of our loyal sponsors and underwriters: 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.

Friday, July 7, 2017

FOT is moving to 10 a.m. – here’s a guide for our new listeners

Deacon Mike Manno and Pam Briddell 
From Deacon Mike:

Well, after juggling times and schedules Iowa Catholic Radio had finally settled on a permanent new time for Faith On Trial: 10 a.m. (Central) Tuesday mornings with a replay that evening at 10 p.m. We’ve also been expanded to an hour and with that new time we expect there will be new listeners who know nothing about our program, so a little bit about us. 
We’ve come a long way since we started as a four minute filler on the drive-time morning show, and, as a lawyer it was fun to pick out stories that flew under the radar and tell our listeners about them. Our first full programs began in the Spring of 2013 as two taped interviews spliced together into a half-hour program that was run on the weekends. In October of that year we were placed on the Tuesday schedule LIVE and co-host Gina Noll joined me. We recently lost Gina but were fortunate enough to be joined by Pam Briddell just a few short months ago.
In all this time we have focused on one thing: how law and society affect people of faith. While we’ve had fun with many of our topics, we have continently striven to make that the focus of our program; thus our many guests have discussed topics that have made some listeners uncomfortable, even angry; but we have stuck to that format.
And the reason is simple. Not only in the United States, but around the world, there are issues and events that have an enormous effect on how we can express our faith, educate our children, and worship our God. We have seen school authorities banning children from saying grace before meals, business people being forced to take part in same-sex wedding ceremonies, nurses forced to assist in abortions under threat of license revocation, attorneys being bullied into political correctness, and churches and religious schools being denied permits to build or expand facilities simply because they are religious.  Of course this list is almost infinite and would include some of the atrocities that our fellow man commits, including the case of the English baby Charlie Gard, our first topic on our new time slot next Tuesday along with a discussion of the Family Research Council’s report on Hostility to Religion.
And, of course, there is a second reason: no one else is telling you these stories, at least not as constantly as we do. Our guests include attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom, The Thomas More Society, Pacific Justice Institute, The Becket Fund for Religious Freedom, Life Legal Defense Foundation, The Family Research Council, and many more, including authors and journalists who write about and cover these events.
What we do we do honestly. This is not “fake news” it is just news that many of you have never heard before. We do try to live up to proper journalistic standards – I know that is hard to imagine now, but – full disclosure – my undergraduate degree is in journalism, earned at a time when news was a sacred commodity, reporting was an honorable profession, and informing the public was the goal.
So if you have not listened before, tune us in. We are on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and we stream live on every Tuesday at 10 & 10. We can also be heard on our downloadable app which you can get free from the app store. Podcasts from prior programs can be found by following this link.
Oh, one other answer to several questions I’ve received: we have a new and improved webcam and it will be put to use as we move into our new downtown studios next fall where we will be able to take your calls on air … watch for the Grand Opening!
In the mean time you can contact me at or Pam at and through our new text line: 515-223-1150.
God Bless.