Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The story of Dr. Paul Church and his battle for science against political correctness

This morning our first guest, Brian Camenker, executive director of MassResistance, told the story of Boston Dr. Paul Church. Below is the article Brian penned about the controversy. We’re reprinting this with permission of Brian and MassResistance. To save space we’ve deleated the photos, but we have kept the copy of Dr. Church’s exhibit from the CDC.

Dr. Paul Church now expelled from four Boston area hospitals – over comments to colleagues at one hospital about its promotion of unhealthy, high-risk LGBT lifestyle.

                Standing on principle while under pressure to repudiate facts.
The ideological corruption in the medical profession defies belief.
August 7, 2017

GREAT VIDEO: "The great lies and the cost of telling the truth." Dr. Paul Church describes his unbelievable ordeal -- and the dangers the medical community is ignoring. At the MassResistance Luncheon on 4/9/17.

The horrific treatment of Dr. Paul Church has become a nightmare – affecting him, of course, but ultimately all of us as well. Because he told the medical truth and refused to bow to political correctness on this critical public health issue, he has now been banned from four prominent Boston area hospitals and a urology clinic.
This is the frightening state of today’s medical profession.
Dr. Church is a urologist who was on the staff of several major Boston area hospitals and clinics for nearly 30 years. He was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. He has done research on diagnosing prostate and bladder cancer, and has spoken to educational and civic groups on the subject of high-risk sexual behaviors. 
In 2015, as we reported, Dr. Church was expelled from the staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) where he had worked for 28 years. The reason? His comments to colleagues that homosexuality is medically unhealthy and that a hospital should not be promoting and celebrating that behavior in “gay pride” events and other hospital-sponsored activities.
Subsequently, he was expelled from two more Boston area hospitals, Brigham & Women’s Faulkner, where also had worked for 28 years, and Beth Israel Deaconess-Needham, where had worked for over six years. Both hospitals admitted that they did not expel Dr. Church because of anything he said or did at those hospitals. He had a perfect performance record. They expelled him because of his original comments made at BIDMC.
After being expelled by the three hospitals, Dr. Church needed a hospital for patient referrals. A fourth hospital, St. Elizabeth’s in Boston, made an offer in 2016 to bring Dr. Church onto their staff, but then abruptly cancelled it. He had been approved by hospital officials all the way up the ladder to join St. Elizabeth’s. Contracts had been signed and even business cards had been printed up. But as he was about to start work, he was informed that they had disapproved his credentialing. The administrators cited “other disputes” and his hiring was cancelled. Dr. Church later found out that hospital officials feared repercussions by the LGBT community for his views expressed at BIDMC.
He has also been dismissed from an independent urology clinic. In addition to the four hospitals, Dr. Church was asked to leave the staff of Men’s Health Boston, a urology clinic where he had been in practice for more than 10 years. He was told that the reason was his dispute at BIDMC. They told him, “We don’t agree with what you’re doing,” and that the BIDMC issue would be “bad for business.”
At no time throughout his career had Dr. Church ever been accused of any discrimination in his treatment of patients, nor had there been any complaints at all from patients.
Currently, Dr. Church continues to see some patients at a private office in suburban Boston. But without hospital staff privileges, he can no longer do hospital work or perform needed surgeries himself. His livelihood has been significantly impacted as a result.
The medical profession is out of control

What is going on?
Most people don’t realize how extensively the medical profession is ignoring critical medical and public health risks in favor of outrageous LGBT political correctness, and has even incorporated that ideology into their institutions.
All the major Boston hospitals now participate in the annual “Gay Pride Week” – a public display of sexual and emotional dysfunction. They also heavily promote LGBT events and issues internally.
And now we’re reeling from the transgender phenomenon, especially its terrible abuse of children in schools and by medical and mental health professionals. But the medical profession refuses to deal with this issue honestly.
Dissent regarding LGBT issues is not tolerated, even regarding medical facts. As Dr. Church observes, the medical community doesn’t care about the dangers, and is willing to accept the collateral damage their silence brings.
Information such as that contained in MassResistance’s book documenting the LGBT health hazards is almost completely absent from today’s medical facilities.
Instead, the medical establishment now promotes homosexuality as being natural and healthy. Deviant sexual practices are equated with normal heterosexual behaviors. We’re now being told that it’s only a problem when homosexuals engage in “unprotected sex”.
This unethical approach is good for business.

While throwing their unconditional support behind the LGBT movement, the hospitals also work hard to attract the “LGBT community” as patients. Major hospitals now cater to the wide range of “unusual” health issues resulting from common LGBT sexual practices and lifestyle. At the same, they advertise that they are providing LGBT patients a “safe” environment – safe from any information that might disturb their proclivities.
How it all started: At BIDMC Dr. Church told the truth

It all started at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).
As we reported in 2015, Dr. Church brought up his concerns internally, to BIDMC hospital officials and staff, not publicly.
He cited irrefutable medical evidence that high-risk sexual practices common to the LGBT community lead to (among other things) a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS, STD's, hepatitis, parasitic infections, anal cancers, and psychiatric disorders. Promoting such behavior, he said, is contrary to the higher mission of the healthcare facility to protect the public welfare and encourage healthy lifestyles.
BIDMC never disputed the truth of Dr. Church’s medical statements. They did not claim that Dr. Church ever discussed this with patients, or treated patients any differently if they were involved in these behaviors.
Instead Dr. Church was told that his admonitions about homosexual behavior constituted “discrimination and harassment,” were “offensive to BIDMC staff,” and could not be tolerated.
In March, 2015, the hospital notified him he was being formally expelled from the staff. The appeal process, which lasted until December 2015, included detailed testimony by Dr. Church and other medical experts supporting him. The expulsion was ultimately upheld by the hospital’s Board of Directors. Members of the hospital’s “LGBT community” (a so-called “protected class” in Massachusetts) claimed they were “offended” by Dr. Church’s remarks about the medical consequences of typical LGBT sexual practices and behaviors.
Brigham & Women’s Faulkner Hospital accuses Dr. Church of using “bad medicine”

In November, 2015, even before BIDMC had completed its appeal process, Dr. Church was notified by Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) that his reappointment was not being renewed; he was effectively being terminated.
He was told that his termination is “related to your dispute with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center” and that his “conduct” there “does not comport with professional standards and ethics.”
Dr. Church requested a hearing to appeal his expulsion, as allowed by the hospital by-laws. The hearing began in June 2016 and was finally adjudicated one year later – in June 2017.
At his hearing, BWFH doctors told Dr. Church that his statements made at BIDMC about the unhealthy nature of homosexuality were “unprofessional” and constitute “bad medicine.”  They said that there is no innate unhealthiness to LGBT behavior, but that “unprotected sex” is the reason for any LGBT-related health problems. They ignored the information from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which he presented to them to back up his statements.

This is one of the exhibits from the federal CDC website that Dr. Church presented to defend his position. It was ignored.

Dr. Church and his expert witnesses fiercely denied that he indulged in any “unprofessional conduct” or “bad medicine.” These claims against him, he said, are purposefully drawn from an absurd oversimplification and complete misrepresentation of the facts. It’s well documented that LGBT behaviors statistically result in an enormous increase in HIV/AIDS, syphilis, anal cancer, hepatitis, depression, suicide, domestic violence, and many other problems. In particular, as Dr. Church pointed out, it has a lot to do with promiscuity, a wide range of risk-taking behaviors, and the type of sex, i.e., anal intercourse. The “safe sex” message has been around for decades, and yet the latest statistics show no decline in the disease transmission rates (and even increases in certain STDs), especially among the homosexual males in the younger age groups and racial minorities. This cannot be explained away by lack of “education” or availability of condoms.
But unfortunately, all of this was ignored and rejected in both the BIDMC and BWFH hearings.
Aggressive and dishonest tactics used against Dr. Church

Dr. Church’s position makes common sense both from a medical and public health standpoint. He was punished with an unprecedented level of censorship for views held by other medical experts and supported by medical and scientific fact.
Thus, because their case against Dr. Church was so weak, the hospitals used very dishonest and overly aggressive tactics to get him removed.
1. Improper use of “Peer Review” process

Massachusetts, like most states, provides in its statutes (Ch. 111 Sec. 203) the requirement that hospitals have a “medical peer review” process. Its purpose is to respond to reports of conduct by a healthcare provider that indicates “incompetency in his specialty” or “might be inconsistent or harmful to good patient care” – and determine if his privileges should be suspended “in the best interests of patient care.”
The statutes also require (Ch. 111 Sec. 204) that the “proceedings, reports, and records” of the peer review process be strictly confidential – even immune from subpoena by a court!
Many hospitals around the country abuse this process. They dishonestly use the medical peer review process as a way punish or remove doctors for ideological or political reasons that have nothing to do with incompetence or patient care. Since all the proceedings and documentation surrounding the process is by law confidential, the doctor is unable to publicly defend himself.
The use of “sham peer reviews” to punish physicians has been strongly denounced for years by groups such as the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).
Yet this is exactly what happened to Dr. Church at BIDMC, BWFH, and Beth Israel-Needham Hospital. When it came to actually caring for patients, none of the hospitals ever accused him of medical incompetence, or of endangering patients in any way. All of Dr. Church’s comments about homosexuality were within internal hospital communications involving administration and staff, and never with patients.
Yet BIDMC, BWFH, and Beth Israel-Needham Hospital labeled every single memo and document dealing with this process in any way as “Peer Review / Confidential.” This was clearly to protect the hospital’s reputation, not Dr. Church or his patients. He wanted complete transparency and public disclosure of everything.
2. Legal intimidation

Both BIDMC and BWFH held hearings after Dr. Church’s expulsion as part of the peer review “appeal” process.
The hearings were not “legal court cases” but attorneys from both sides were allowed. Dr. Church had one lawyer. The hospitals each brought in whole teams of lawyers from high-priced Boston firms. Both hospitals clearly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each on legal fees, presented mountains of paperwork, and endless, often trivial, “exhibits” against him, to overwhelm the process. Someday, we’d love to see all that!  That kind of legal intimidation and unlimited budget make it nearly impossible for even a highly respected physician like Dr. Church to come out on top.
3. Kangaroo court

On top of all the above, we were told that both appeal hearings were conducted by a panel of hospital-selected doctors and staff in an absurd, mostly hostile, “kangaroo court” style. They often curtailed the time allotted for Dr. Church and his attorney and extended the time for the hospital people. Dr. Church’s character witnesses were treated with disrespect. Key testimony was simply tossed out or not allowed. In short, we were told, their behavior clearly suggested that the appeal “hearing” was simply an aggravating formality that the hospital by-laws required. They had no intention of looking at the facts in any unbiased manner.
The LGBT blitz through the medical profession continues

If anything, will prove to be a significant precedent for the LGBT agenda in medicine. There were no criminal charges, no patient safety issues, no incompetence, or even proof that Dr. Church was incorrect in what he said. ONLY in opposing their ideology.
As Dr. Church recently said,
This is both an ideological dispute and a medical issue. I have pointed out repeatedly that there are staff and employees at these hospitals who object – based on moral and religious convictions – to the unconditional promotion of LGBT agenda. Additionally, and especially relevant to the mission of a healthcare institution, is the medical evidence that behaviors and lifestyles common to this group are often unhealthy and lead to serious medical consequences. It is hypocritical at best, and a betrayal of the public trust at worst, to ignore or downplay these aspects in the interest of political correctness.
Where is the discrimination here? Not by Dr. Church!

Ed. Note: Dr. Church wrote the introduction to the book The Health Hazards of Homosexually which can be purchased from this site or Amazon.


Monday, August 14, 2017

The continuing saga of Dr. Paul Church and more on the fight against euthanasia – next FOT

Brian Camenker,
Ex. Director, MassResistance
On Tuesday’s program we’re going to update you on the continuing saga of Dr. Paul Church, the Boston urologist who has now had his staff privileges revoked by several area hospitals because he spoke to his colleagues about the medical dangers inherent in homosexual sexual relations.  

Joining us for that discussion will be one of Dr. Church’s strongest supporters, Brian Camenker, executive director of MassResistance, a pro-family activist organization that educates people to help them confront the attacks on the traditional family, children, religion, and society. Founded in 1995, it is active across the US and worldwide.
Following Brian we’ll be joined by a returning guest, Alex Schadenberg, executive director o
Alex Schadenberg
 Ex. Dir. Euthanasis
Prevention Coalitin
f the EuthanasiaPrevention Coalition on some of the recent events in the fight against euthanasia including a report on the subject by the New Zealand Health Commission recommending that the euthanasia not be adopted.
So join Deacon Mike Manno and Pam Briddell for a discussion of these and other topics of interest Tuesday at 10 a.m. (Central) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. The program will be re-broadcast at 10 p.m. and podcasts of earlier 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.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Undercover videos in baby parts case goes to Supreme Court; Thomas More Society asks high court to lift gag order: Next FOT

Last Thursday attorneys from the Thomas More Society joined their co-defense counsel in filing an appeal with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to hear the case of David Daleiden, the undercover journalist who exposed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the commercial trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts and to overturn a court imposed gag order that barred Daleiden from releasing hundreds of hours of still more videos – videos whose contents were both politically embarrassing and incriminating for Planned Parenthood and other abortionists.

Tom Brejcha, president
Thomas More Society
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) had filed suit back in July, 2015, to bar Daleiden from releasing his undercover videos taken at National Abortion Federation 2014 and 2015 annual conventions. Judge William Orrick granted an “emergency” gag order suppressing the videotapes, and later he entered a preliminary injunction extending the gag order indefinitely, through trial of the case – an injunction that the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco affirmed, although one Judge on the three-Judge panel dissented from that part of the lower court’s order that forbade Daleiden from releasing the videos to law enforcement without first getting the federal court’s permission to do so after first consulting with NAF.
Thomas More Society attorneys Tom Brejcha, Peter Breen, Matt Heffron, and Sarah Pitlyk (all former FOT guests) helped to craft the appeal, along with co-defense counsel, and they have been representing Daleiden in both the NAF civil suit, filed under the Federal Racketeering Law (RICO), another RICO suit filed by Planned Parenthood and various affiliates, and in criminal felony prosecutions filed both in Houston, TX (finally dismissed a year ago) and in San Francisco Criminal Court.
Joining us to discuss the Supreme Court filing Tuesday will be Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society.
He explained, “We are appealing to the highest court in quest of justice. This lawsuit was brought against Mr. Daleiden by NAF, the abortion industry’s trade group, because he dared to expose the truth about their members’ profiting from an illegal trade in the remains of human beings. But what is ultimately at stake here is whether those who ‘blow the whistle’ on illegal or inhumane misbehavior in any industry may be silenced and even punished for telling the truth to the public at large and to those charged with enforcing criminal and regulatory bans on nefarious practices.  Whether America will remain an open or closed society hangs in the balance.  We trust that the Justices will stand by our traditional disapproval of “prior restraints on free speech,” hear Daleiden’s appeal, vindicate his First Amendment rights, and reverse the lower courts’ egregious mistakes.”
Join us Tuesday at 10 a.m. Central on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com for a lively discussion of this and other matters affecting people of faith. The program will be re-broadcast Tuesday at 10 p.m. and podcasts of earlier programs can be found by following this link.
Additionally, you can read the Thomas More Society’s petition to the Supreme Court  here.
Faith On Trial is on the air courtesy of our 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.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Wyoming judge punished for marriage beliefs takes her case to US Supreme Court; State high court publicly censured Judge Ruth Neely, forced her to stop solemnizing marriages, drove her from magistrate judge position

Judge Ruth Neely
WASHINGTON – A Wyoming judge whom the Wyoming Supreme Court punished for her religious beliefs about marriage asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to take up her case. In Wyoming, magistrates may decline wedding requests for nearly any secular reason, but the court punished Judge Ruth Neely for saying that she would need to refer some marriage requests for a religious reason.

In March, the Wyoming Supreme Court publicly censured Neely, forced her to stop solemnizing marriages, and drove her from her magistrate judge position for stating, in response to a reporter’s questions, that her religious beliefs about marriage do not permit her to officiate same-sex weddings. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Neely are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Wyoming Supreme Court’s decision and declare that a judge cannot be punished for expressing her beliefs about marriage.

“No one should be punished simply for expressing a belief about marriage that is ‘based on decent and honorable religious…premises’ and is held ‘in good faith by reasonable and sincere people,’” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, quoting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. “The state allows magistrates to decline wedding requests for countless secular reasons—because they refuse to perform weddings for strangers, because they simply don’t feel like marrying the couple, or because they prefer to watch a football game. But the state forbids Judge Neely from saying that she would need to decline some wedding requests for a religious reason. This unconstitutionally targets religion for disfavored treatment, and that’s why we’re asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case.”

Neely has served as the municipal judge in Pinedale, Wyoming, for more than 22 years. In that capacity, she has no authority to solemnize marriages. She also served as a part-time circuit court magistrate in Sublette County for approximately 15 years. In that role, she was authorized to solemnize marriages but had discretion to decline wedding requests for nearly any reason.

In March 2015, the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics filed a complaint against Neely, alleging judicial misconduct and seeking her removal from both judicial positions simply because she voiced her religious conflict with performing same-sex weddings. The commission’s position threatens to punish not just Neely, but also any other judge who expresses conscience-based conflicts involving any issue.

“This case presents an important free-exercise question,” the petition ADF attorneys filed with the Supreme Court in Neely v. Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics explains. “Although the state has a system of individualized exemptions that permits magistrates to decline marriages for nearly any secular reason, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that Judge Neely could not refer same-sex-marriage requests (if she ever received any) to other magistrates for the religious reason she expressed.”

“The Wyoming Supreme Court demanded that Judge Neely either commit to performing same-sex weddings or stop performing all weddings—an ultimatum that drove her from her magistrate position,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell, who argued before the Wyoming high court. “The court didn’t need to do that. If Judge Neely were ever asked to officiate a same-sex wedding, which has never happened and the court acknowledged was ‘not likely’ to occur, she would’ve quickly connected that couple to judges able to perform their wedding. That is exactly what other judges do when they face secular conflicts, and there’s no reason why Judge Neely’s religious conflict should be treated worse.”

The petition adds that Neely’s case “also raises a significant free-speech issue. Judges who have authority to solemnize marriages should not be punished simply for expressing a religious conflict with officiating same-sex weddings. Such religious beliefs, this Court recently said, are ‘based on decent and honorable’ premises…. They manifest no hostility or prejudice toward any person or class of persons. Punishing people of faith for merely expressing those beliefs conflicts with our nation’s constitutional commitment to free speech.”

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Partial victory for Wisconsin photographers

On our program this week, we told you that a Wisconsin photographer was asking a court to halt the enforcement of a Madison ordinance and a state law against her while her lawsuit proceeds.

During the hearing, the court announced it would issue an order declaring that she and her business would not be subject to those laws. The court said that Amy Lawson and her business were not subject to the laws because she does not have a physical storefront. The court also announced that it would be issuing an order to that effect, which is expected in the coming weeks.
Here is what ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said of the ruling: 
“The court’s announcement has important implications for everyone in Wisconsin who values artistic freedom. It means that government officials must allow creative professionals without storefronts anywhere in the city and state the freedom to make their own decisions about which ideas they will use their artistic expression to promote. The court found—and the city and state have now agreed—that such professionals cannot be punished under public accommodation laws for exercising their artistic freedom because those laws simply don’t apply to them. No one should be threatened with punishment for having views that the government doesn’t favor.”
Note especially that last line, where Scruggs says "no one." While the order forthcoming from the court is a victory for Amy Lawson and her business (and many other creative professionals), what about the creative professional who does have a storefront? What about the cake artists, videographers, and other professionals who have set up brick-and-mortar shops?
Unfortunately, unless these laws are overturned, changed, or limited, those creative professionals will still be subject to the same violations of their freedom that Amy was facing. ADF will continue to fight for the First Amendment freedoms of all creative professionals.

Minnesota mom appeals parental rights lawsuit against sex change providers, county and school; Thomas More Society seeks vindication for de facto emancipation of minor son

(August 3, 2017 – St. Paul, MN) A Minnesota mother is challenging county, school and health service authorities for emancipating her minor son without court proceedings, notice or her consent. The Thomas More Society has filed an appeal in federal court on behalf of Anmarie Calgaro, whose child has been driven through sex change procedures with complete disregard for her parental rights.  

The appeal brief, filed July 31, 2017, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Paul, Minnesota, disputes a lower court ruling that held that the school, county and health care authorities involved could not be held liable, despite their acting outside of state law. [Erick Kaardal, special counsel for the Thomas More Society was on Faith On Trial June 27 to discuss this matter. The podcast of the program can be found here.]  

In May 2017, District Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed Calgaro's lawsuit. He admitted that the boy was not legally emancipated by a court order and agreed that Calgaro's parental rights “remained intact.” Despite these facts, the judge decreed that the de facto emancipation of Calgaro’s minor son by the county, school and medical care providers did not constitute an infringement of constitutionally-protected parental rights.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal pointed out, “The U.S. Constitution
Erick Kaardal
Thomas More Society
says that parental rights of fit parents are fundamental rights, fit parents’ parental rights over unemancipated minors cannot be terminated without due process. U.S. District Court Judge Magnuson decided that the defendants did not emancipate Ms. Calgaro’s son because only a court order can do that. However, then, oddly, Judge Magnuson ruled that Ms. Calgaro’s claims were meritless because she did not name a specific policy of the county or school that caused the violation and deprivation of her parental rights.”

“There’s a real disconnect in the District Court decision where the mother’s parental rights are admitted but not honored.  Then, at the same time, the District Court claims those agencies which are violating Calgaro’s rights are doing nothing wrong,” explained Kaardal. “The U.S. Court of Appeals needs to untangle this incompatible scenario by stating how the law of parental rights and emancipation work in an administrative state by addressing emancipation procedures in a way that protects parental rights, and by clarifying the law in a way that does not violate those rights.” 
The original lawsuit, Anmarie Calgaro v. St. Louis County et al, was filed in November 2016, when Calgaro charged St. Louis County, Fairview Health Services, Park Nicollet Health Services, and the St. Louis County School District with violating her due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. 

The case detailed how these agencies usurped Calgaro’s parental rights over her minor son, providing him with transgender services and narcotic drugs. The youth was handled by the defendants as an emancipated minor despite there being no court action to that effect. Neither the school district, county nor any of the medical agencies named in the lawsuit provided notice or hearing to Calgaro, prior to terminating her parental rights over her minor child.

Kaardal has referred to Calgaro’s situation as “a parent’s worst nightmare,” noting that her son, while a minor, was steered through a life-changing, permanent body altering process, becoming a pawn in someone else’s sociopolitical agenda and being influenced by those who have “no legal or moral right to usurp the role of a parent.” 

Read the Appeal Brief, filed July 31, 2017, with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Anmarie Calgaro v. St. Louis County et al, by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal, here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/prinicipal-brief-7-31-17/]. 

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 thomasmoresociety.org.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Presbyterian Church wins right to follow its own religious rules; Court rejects disgruntled pastor’s invitation to cross the church-state line

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Kentucky Court of Appeals has protected the right of churches to follow their own religious rules, even if some church members disagree with how those rules apply to them. In Dermody v. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), minister Roger Dermody sued the church for defamation after it notified members that Dermody had committed ethical violations in overseeing church finances. The court’s ruling protects the right of churches to operate their internal affairs without government intrusion.
In its July 28 order, the court ruled that it could not consider Dermody’s defamation claim because reviewing the church’s decisions about its own ethics standards would violate the church-state rules of the First Amendment. The court stated that “[t]here is but one way to decide” whether Dermody violated Presbyterian religious ethics rules: “review the determinations of an ecclesiastical body applying its own ethics rules. We cannot do that.” The court’s ruling adopts arguments that Becket made in a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the church.
The following statement can be attributed to Eric Baxter, senior counsel at Becket: 
“For most churches, ethics is Job One. They must be able to follow their own ethical standards. The court’s ruling is basic common sense: When someone violates a church’s religious ethics rules the church has to be able to take action. That is especially so when there are ethical concerns about the use of the funds church members put into the collection plate. To do otherwise would violate the principle of church-state separation: churches don’t control the state and the state doesn’t control churches. That goes for courts too—they can’t second guess church’s internal affairs.”
Additional Information:
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, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).