Wednesday, October 08, 2008
"Sex-selection and race-selection abortions trivialize the value of the unborn on the basis of sex or race, reinforcing sex and race discrimination, and coarsening society to the humanity of all vulnerable and innocent human life, making it increasingly difficult to protect such life. Thus, Congress has a compelling interest in acting--indeed it must act--to prohibit sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion."
The bill states that "Whoever knowingly performs an abortion knowing that such abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent of that child; uses force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion, or attempts to do so; or solicits or accepts funds for the purpose of financing a sex-selection abortion or a race-selection abortion; shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
Currently, this bill is before the House Judiciary Committee. Please contact members of this Committee and ask them to vote for the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. A complete list of members can be found at http://judiciary.house.gov/about/members.html.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Internet gambling has always been illegal, but prior to UIGEA, state and federal law could not be enforced because the sites offering the gambling services were located outside of the country. UIGEA aids in the control of the socially adverse effects of Internet gambling, and strengthens our national security. Internet gambling sites can be havens for drug traffickers and terrorist financiers, as well as contribute to gambling addictions. UIGEA is a very pro-family piece of legislation that must not be repealed.
The Payment System Protection Act is an attack on family values and encourages illegal gambling. This bill may come before the House next month, so please contact your Representative and ask that he or she vote against this piece of legislation. A complete list of members of the United States House of Representatives is available at www.house.gov.
If passed, the bill would make it an unlawful practice “to establish a rule or policy that prevents a person from displaying, on the basis of that person's religious belief, a religious symbol, object, or sign on the door, doorpost, entrance, or otherwise on the exterior of that person's dwelling, or that is visible from the exterior of that dwelling, unless the rule or policy is reasonable and is necessary to prevent significant damage to property, physical harm to persons, a public nuisance, or similar undue hardship.”
This bill is currently before the House Judiciary Committee. A complete list of Committee members can be found at http://judiciary.house.gov/about/members.html. Please contact these members and ask them to protect religious freedom by favorably passing this piece of legislation out of committee.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
These regulations have not yet taken effect and are open for public comment for a period of thirty days. Following the comment period, the Department of Health and Human Services will consider the comments before issuing the final regulations. The deadline for public comment is September 25, 2008. You can comment on this issue in one of three ways:
1. Official comments may be submitted at www.Regulations.gov. Enter key word ‘provider conscience’ and click on the link ‘Comment or Submission.’ You can submit your entry in the space provided or add an attachment (Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, or Excel; Microsoft Word is preferred). The subject line must read ‘Provider Conscience Regulation.’
2. Official comments may also be submitted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line must read ‘Provider Conscience Regulation.’
3. General comments may be submitted to the blog for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at http://secretarysblog.hhs.gov.
The core issue underlying these regulations is conscience protections and they must be codified in order to enforce existing federal law and ensure that health care professionals have the right to refuse to perform services due to moral, ethical, or religious objections.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Freedom of Speech and the Press
The GOP “supports the freedom of speech and freedom of the press and opposes attempts to violate or weaken those rights, such as reinstatement of the so-called Fairness Doctrine.”
One of the measures taken to ensure this constitutional right is the Broadcaster Freedom Act, H.R. 2905. The Act would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, which would require all broadcast licensees to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. H.R. 2905 was first introduced by Representative Pence (R-IN) on June 28, 2007 and is currently before the House Committee on Energy, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Congressman Pence filed a discharge petition on October 17, 2007 to bring the Act to the House floor without a Committee report. A discharge petition requires 218 signatures, and as of July 24, 2008, 202 signatures have been collected.
Maintaining the Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life
The GOP “supports a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
The Sanctity of Human Life Act, H.R. 4157, states that “the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” The Act was introduced by Representative Broun (R-GA) on November 13, 2007 and has been before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties since February 25, 2008.
Protecting Our National Symbols
The GOP “condemns decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school.”
The Pledge Protection Act, H.R. 699, affirms the current text of the Pledge of Allegiance and, by the power vested in Congress by the Constitution, removes jurisdiction to hear a case pertaining to the Pledge from any court created by Congress. The bill also exercises Congress’ Article III, Section 2 power to withhold appellate jurisdiction from the Supreme Court in dealing with this matter. H.R. 699 was introduced by Representative Akin (R-MO) on January 29, 2007 and has been before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties since March 1, 2007.
A complete list of Members of the United States House of Representatives is available at www.house.gov. Please contact your representative and ask that he or she support our American values by voting for the Broadcaster Freedom Act, the Sanctity of Human Life Act, and the Pledge Protection Act.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Typically, there is little debate on bills in the Senate and measures pass through unanimous consent. Senator Coburn (R-OK) exercised his right as a member of the United States Senate to put a hold on several bills, meaning that he did not give unanimous consent. A hold simply means that, since unanimous consent implies support for a bill, a senator is essentially voting “no” on passage of a bill.
The Majority Leader is still able to pass a bill with a hold on it by bringing it to the Senate floor for public debate; however, this takes up valuable time that could be spent on more high profile measures. As a result, the effect of a hold often works to postpone consideration of a measure indefinitely, and as such, is one of the single most effective tools available to Senate conservatives for stopping legislation.
One additional procedure the Majority Leader has used to great effect is called “filling the tree.” Under this procedure, the Leader can block Republicans from offering amendments to legislation on the floor by offering several amendments that do not change the substance of the bill, but which under the rules, fill all of the available places to amend the bill. He then uses his special right of recognition as Majority Leader to prevent consideration on any amendments other than his own.
In an effort to thwart procedural safeguards available to members of the Senate, the Majority Leader brought an omnibus bill to the floor ironically entitled "A bill to advance America's priorities." Senator Coburn had placed a hold on a number, but not all, of these bills, because of the billions of dollars of authorized spending included in the proposed legislation. Due to the inevitable increase of the national deficit at the hand of these bills, Senator Coburn withheld unanimous consent, in order to have full debate on these pieces of legislation.
In a motion for cloture on July 28, Senate Republicans stood together and defended their rights as members of the United States Senate. The motion failed by a vote of 52-40-8, sending a message to Harry Reid that he cannot use his power as Majority Leader to stifle the procedural rights of his Republican colleagues.
The Scout Oath states, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and to my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."
As part of its core values and dedication to morality, the Boy Scouts have an internal leadership policy of not hiring known or avowed members of the homosexual community. This policy has recently come under attack in the City of Philadelphia.
Serving 87,000 boys and men, the Cradle of Liberty Council, located in Philadelphia, is the third largest local council in the country. Of the estimated 69,000 youth that participate, many benefit from mentoring and educational services, in addition to the traditional service projects and character building activities.
Since 1928, the Cradle of Liberty Council has rented its headquarters from the City for $1 per year. However, the City of Philadelphia made a decision to penalize the Boys Scouts because of its adherence to long-held moral beliefs by raising the rent to $200,000 per year after May 31, 2008.
In response, Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) has authored a letter to Mayor Nutter and City Council President Verna asking the City of Philadelphia to reconsider its decision and instead continue its support for the Boy Scouts of America.
Please contact your Representative immediately and request that he or she sign on to this letter by close of business Thursday, July 31. A full list of Representatives is available at www.house.gov.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) offered an amendment to the bill to address China's one-child policy. The amendment calls on the Chinese government to abandon its coercive population control policy, which includes forced abortion and involuntary sterilization. Smith's amendment passed by a voice vote and became part of H. Res. 1370.
This Resolution will likely go before the full House sometime next week. With both the Congressional summer recess and the 2008 Summer Olympics fast approaching, this is a very important vote. Please contact your Representative and request that he or she support this Resolution. A full list of members of the United States House of Representatives is available at http://www.house.gov.
Although this Resolution is very important and will send a message that the United States does not support China's coercive population control policy and condemns its human rights violations, words are not enough. Congress must back this up with action, specifically by defunding groups who work to further China's abhorrent practice of coerced and forced abortions.
On April 23, 2007, National Public Radio, in an article entitled, "Cases of Forced Abortions Surface in China, reported that women in China have been forced to have abortions, as late as nine months into their pregnancies. The full article can be found at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9766870.
Last week, both the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and the Senate Appropriations Committee considered a FY09 Foreign Operations Bill which creates an exception to the more than two decades old Kemp-Kasten provision. The new language creates a special carve-out for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations population agency that has assisted the Chinese government with their coercive population control program since its inception in 1979.
The Kemp-Kasten provision gives the President the authority to deny U.S. funding to an organization or program that supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Representative Dave Weldon (R-FL) said of last week's action by the House Subcommittee, “For years we have sought to protect women and children in China because it was morally wrong to support China’s forced abortion program. Now the Democrat Majority in the House has voted to change existing law and send millions of dollars to UNFPA and turn a blind eye to the egregious human rights violations that UNFPA promotes in China. This is a despicable policy change."
The FY09 Foreign Operations Bill could come before both Houses of Congress prior to the August recess. Please contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to uphold the Kemp-Kasten provision in order to prevent the furtherance of China's forced abortion policy.
A full list of Senators and Congressmen can be found at: http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Last month Liberty Counsel filed a motion to intervene in this lawsuit, asking the court to allow the people to vote on the Amendment. Liberty Counsel represents the Campaign for California Families, Randy Thomasson, and Larry Bowler. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three voters and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, the ACLU and Equality California against California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, who certified the Amendment.
On June 2, 2008, the Amendment was certified by the Secretary of State for the November ballot. The Amendment states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." If passed, the Amendment would nullify the 4-3 ruling of the California Supreme Court issued on May 15 and would ban same-sex marriage in California.
The same-sex marriage advocates were seeking to remove the Amendment from the November ballot, erroneously arguing that "the rules for revising the California Constitution were not properly followed." Their brief claimed that an initiative was not enough to put the Amendment on the ballot, since it must also be approved by two-thirds of the legislature. The suit also alleged that petitions for the initiative, which were circulated prior to the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, were misleading because they stated the Amendment would not change existing law and would not have a financial impact on the state. Liberty Counsel's motion to intervene disproved these claims.
Most Californians want the Amendment. A poll conducted on May 30, 2008, by ccAdvertising shows that 56% of California residents support marriage as one man and one woman. Another poll by the Los Angeles Times similarly revealed that 54% of those polled supported the Amendment and only 35% opposed it.
If the people have an opportunity to participate in the democratic process, they will vote for marriage as one man and one woman. Those who push for same-sex marriage are willing to destroy both marriage and democracy to achieve a selfish result. Marriage between a man and a woman is best for our children and for our country.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Recently, the McDonalds Corporation contributed thousands of dollars and joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, a radical homosexual activist organization that pushes the homosexual agenda, including calling for legalization of so-called "same-sex marriage." In so doing, McDonalds has publicly sided in the ongoing culture war against the majority of Americans who hold traditional family values. For this reason, AFA called for the boycott against McDonalds.
"Unfortunately, McDonalds has chosen to side with militant homosexual activists over people with traditional values," said Matt Barber. "The company has further escalated the controversy by lodging a personal attack against the tens of millions of Americans who support traditional sexual morality and legitimate marriage. While referring to Christians and other people with traditional values, McDonalds spokesman Bill Whitman arrogantly told the Washington Post that, 'Hatred has no place in our culture,' thereby suggesting that people who support the historical definition of marriage are simply motivated by 'hate.' This insult is highly offensive, and anyone who supports traditional marriage should boycott McDonalds and tell the company why they’re doing so."
McDonalds should focus on food quality and safety issues instead of attacking the values held by the majority of people worldwide. Marriage between a man and a woman is the norm throughout the world. McDonalds' personal attack against those who support the traditional definition of marriage, while siding with a narrow group that promotes a radical redefinition, shows that company executives are out to lunch. McDonalds might as well change their signs to read 'billions and billions insulted.'
Friday, July 11, 2008
Since 1987, several attempts have been made by Congress to restore the Fairness Doctrine; however, a presidential veto or threat thereof, has thwarted these efforts. As early as last year, over 300 Democrats and Republicans actually stood together to oppose further efforts to revitalize this harmful doctrine. As a result, Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act (H.R. 2905) on June 28, 2007, to ensure that no future president could bring back the Fairness Doctrine without an act of Congress.
Currently, the bill has 207 co-sponsors and has been before the House Committee on Energy, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, since October 3, 2007. Congressman Pence filed a discharge petition on October 17, 2007 to bring the Act to the House floor without a Committee report. A discharge petition requires 218 signatures, and as of July 10, 2008, 201 signatures have been collected.
On June 24, 2008, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi told a meeting a the Christian Science Monitor that the Broadcaster Freedom Act would not receive a vote because "the interest of my caucus is the reverse." In response, Congressman Pence said, "so far, not one single House Democrat has signed our petition for an up-or-down vote on broadcast freedom . . . and now we know why."
Please contact your Representative and request that he or she sign this discharge petition and allow of the Broadcaster Freedom Act to go to the House floor for a vote. A complete list of the members of the United State House of Representatives can be found at http://www.house.gov.
Patrick Kennedy’s lawyers appealed his case to the Supreme Court on Sept. 11, 2007, raising two issues: first, whether the death penalty for rape of a child was “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and, second, whether Louisiana’s law did not narrow the class of those eligible for that penalty because it applied whenever a rape was committed, and the victim was under 12 years of age.
The case was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on April 16, 2008 and was decided June 25, 2008. In an opinion authored by Justice Kennedy, the court held 5-4 that the Eighth Amendment bars Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim's death. The Court based its decision on what it deemed a "national consensus" against capital punishment for the crime of child rape.
On Thursday, July 10, House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), along with 84 other members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter asking the Justices of the Supreme Court to sua sponte withdraw its June 25, 2008 opinion and reconsider the case.
In 2005, Congress enacted the death penalty for child rapists under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The measure passed the House by a vote of 374-41 and passed the Senate 95-0. That provision – Section 552(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (became Public Law No. 109-163 on January 6, 2006) – provides that until the President otherwise provides, the punishment for the rape of a child may not exceed “death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.” In September 2007, President Bush issued Executive Order 13447 that codified the provisions of Public Law 109-163, including the provision of the death penalty for child rape, into the 2008 edition of the Manual for Courts-Martial.
The Congressmen are bringing this to the attention of the Justices to show that federal law allows for the death penalty in the case of child rape and to prove that adoption of that provision by such overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress clearly demonstrates a "national consensus" in favor of implementation of the death penalty in the case of child rape.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Superior Court Judge Mike Spaan ruled that a 2006 state law exempting organization-owned homes of religious educators is constitutional. The decision says tax exemptions are provided to religious and charitable organizations because they perform services that would otherwise have to be funded from tax revenues and because they foster the moral and intellectual development of the community.
The exemption given by the Alaska legislature applies to the homes of ABT's teachers. Nonreligious educational institutions already enjoyed an exemption for teacher housing before the legislature added the religious institution exemption. Without the exemption, ABT and other religious institutions would not be able to provide quality education to Alaska’s children, where educational opportunities are limited because of the rural nature of much of the state.
ABT operates a number of ministries, including alcohol and drug abuse recovery programs, community outreaches, children’s programs, a bus transportation service, music programs, and Anchorage Christian School, a K-12 school serving approximately 700 students. ABT owns six residences that house teachers. These residences are integral to ABT’s educational mission.
This is a great victory for the children and families of Alaska. Many of these children living in remote areas will benefit from the opportunity to attend a local religious school, where a qualified teacher will give them the key to open the door to their future. The ACLU tried to educationally imprison these children. With its defeat, the children are the winners.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
"The Declaration of American Values reflects the consensus of the shared values that form the basis of America’s greatness. The values affirmed in this Declaration are transgenerational and foundational. They are what make America a great Nation. At this crucial time in history as we celebrate the birth of this revolutionary experiment in self-government, we believe it is necessary to declare the values that unify us and that form the fabric of the United States of America."
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, which announced the colonies' separation from Great Britain. One of the signers, John Adams, believed that the day would be celebrated as a day for remembrance with "solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."
It is fitting that we contemplate these shared values on this 232nd anniversary of American independence.
Read the Declaration of American Values on Liberty Counsel's web site.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Summit Ministries, based near Colorado Springs, Colorado, endeavors to educate Christian youth about today’s post-Christian culture and to equip them with the practical knowledge and tools necessary to stand firm in their faith. During its summer program, Summit offers comprehensive lectures by leading experts on a variety of topics, including apologetics, history, theology and popular culture. Students learn how to articulate a reasoned and biblically sound Christian response on issues such as abortion, postmodernism and popular culture. Summit has dual goals of instilling in those students a steadfast Christian worldview and a meaningful understanding of why they believe what they believe.
During the two-week program, Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, conducted a three-hour interactive dialogue with the eager students in the Supreme Courtroom at Liberty University School of Law. Staver covered topics that included abortion, marriage and the Foundations of Law. Over the course of the two weeks, the students learned from leading national experts such as Dr. Ergun Caner, President of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School, Dr. Gary Habermas, an expert on apologetics at Liberty University, and many others.
With proponents of moral relativism and postmodernism taking our system of education hostage, it is encouraging to know that organizations like Summit Ministries are making a positive difference by equipping a new generation to think biblically. As the largest and fastest-growing evangelical university in the world with a premier law school, Liberty University is proud to partner with Summit Ministries in an effort to prepare this generation of young people to apply a Christian worldview in achieving desperately needed cultural reform.
For more information about Liberty University School of Law, visit www.law.liberty.edu. For information on Summit Ministries, visit www.summit.org.
Monday, June 30, 2008
On June 2, 2008, the Amendment was certified by the Secretary of State for the November ballot. The Amendment states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." If passed, the Amendment would nullify the 4-3 ruling of the California Supreme Court issued on May 15.
The same-sex marriage advocates are seeking to have the Amendment removed from the November ballot. They erroneously argue that "the rules for revising the California Constitution were not properly followed." Their brief claims that an initiative is not enough to put the amendment on the ballot, since it must also be approved by two-thirds of the legislature. The suit also alleges that petitions for the initiative, which were circulated prior to the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, were misleading because they stated the amendment would not change existing law and would not have a financial impact on the state. Liberty Counsel's motion to intervene disproves these claims.
Most Californians want the Amendment. A poll conducted on May 30, 2008, by ccAdvertising shows that 56% of California residents support marriage as one man and one woman. Another poll by the Los Angeles Times similarly revealed that 54% of those polled supported the Amendment and only 35% opposed it.
If the people have an opportunity to participate in the democratic process, they will vote for marriage as one man and one woman. The advocates of same-sex marriage want to trample the will of the people and force same-sex marriage with an iron hand, akin to what a dictator would do over his subjects. Those who push for same-sex marriage are willing to destroy both marriage and democracy to achieve a selfish result. Marriage between a man and a woman is best for our children and for our country.
Friday, June 27, 2008
David Barber, Program Director for TeenPact, describes the week-long conference as "a hands-on, on-site program that teaches high-school students about law and the judicial system from a distinctly Biblical worldview. Throughout the week students participate in presentations from expert professors at Liberty University School of Law and some of the nation’s most experienced religious liberty attorneys from Liberty Counsel as they prepare oral arguments for a moot court tournament at the end of the week."
The week long program includes lectures on a broad range of legal subjects. Topics include foundations of law, property, contracts, civil procedure, family law, legal writing and oral advocacy, and the court system. Many of the topics presented not only provide the students a good introduction to these areas of law, but many of these topics are core legal topics tested on many state bar exams.
The second half of the week is dedicated to the TPJ Moot Court tournament. In TPJ Moot Court, students argue a case before a variety of judges and apply what they have learned during the week.
Barber explains that "the goal of the program is to inspire the next generation of Christian leaders to be passionate about their faith and give them the tools they need to proactively engage the culture for the glory of Jesus Christ."
My passion is to train a new generation of leaders in the rule of law from a Christian perspective to use law as a fulcrum to do good. I cannot muster enough superlative words to describe the TeenPact Judicial program. These young students are energetic, bright, and eager to become world leaders. In a few short years, they will begin shaping world history.
In September 2006, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the District to stop the Gideons from providing Bibles for public school students. Federal district Judge Catherine Perry issued an order prohibiting the distribution of any Bible, which she described as an "instrument of religion." Although the District has an equal access policy that treats the distribution of secular and religious literature outside of class on an equal basis, Judge Perry also ruled the District's open access policy unconstitutional. The ruling presented a novel (and unconstitutional) theory that a private third party (like the ACLU) must have the opportunity to veto the distribution request of the private applicant. The veto power, the judge wrote, must be provided to veto religious, but not secular, literature.
The District has a long-standing open access policy that allows many community groups to present literature and information to students at its schools, outside the classroom during non-instructional time. The many diverse groups include the Army Corps of Engineers, Red Cross, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Iron County Health Department, Missouri Water Patrol, Missouri Highland Healthcare, and Union Pacific Railroad. The distribution of Bibles or religious literature is treated the same as secular literature under the policy, but Judge Perry ruled that religious literature, particularly the Bible, may not be treated the same. If a private third party, like the ACLU, cannot veto the request before the distribution, then, she ruled, the policy must be stricken. No court in the country has provided a private right of veto over private religious speech.
The ACLU might not like the fact that equal access also means equal treatment for religious speech, but the Constitution requires equal treatment. The First Amendment protects private religious viewpoints. Hecklers may heckle but they may not veto private religious speech. The Bible is not radioactive. Religious viewpoints have Constitutional protection.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Court did not imply that all limits are invalid, stating: "Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."
The case was started by Dick Heller, who was joined by six other D.C. residents who wanted to keep handguns in their private homes. The gun ban prohibited ownership of handguns that were not registered with the District before 1976. It also required that all guns already registered be disassembled, unloaded, or secured by a trigger lock. The District of Columbia Court of Appeal ruled the ban was unconstitutional; holding the right to own handguns was protected by the Second Amendment. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard oral argument in March. Thirty-one states submitted amicus briefs. Some federal courts have ruled that the Second Amendment did not create an individual right, but only applied to state militias. The last time the Court ruled on the Second Amendment right to bear arms was in 1939.
'Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition' is the best way to describe today’s decision. The right to self-defense is a liberty at the core of the American Revolution. It was ordinary people who defended life and liberty against organized tyranny. The King of Great Britain sought to disarm the colonists because he, like any criminal, knew that a disarmed people are a weak people who can easily be overcome. The Second Amendment stands as an impenetrable wall between tyranny and freedom.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Accompanying the students and organizing the trip were Mathew Staver, Dean of the School of Law and Founder of Liberty Counsel; Anita Staver, President of Liberty Counsel; Sarah Seitz, Legal Director, Liberty Center for Law & Policy; and David Corry, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel.
After a observing a session of the Court and hearing the delivery of three opinions, the students attended a lecture by Clerk of the Court Gen. William Suter. David Corry, Senior Litigation Counsel of Liberty Counsel commented on the lecture, saying that Gen. Suter was "engaging" as he answered the students' questions.
The students later toured the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building. Some of the points of interest included portraits of Jesus amidst other famous lawgivers such as Moses, which are displayed in the entry foyer of the Great Hall.
Capping off the day, the students attended a reception in the beautifully decorated West Room of the United States Supreme Court.
Commenting on the overall experience, Corry, said, "This invaluable trip brought to life the Supreme Court’s work and the Department of Justice in way our students could never have appreciated otherwise."
The opportunity to visit the United States Supreme Court, to see how it works, and to meet the Chief Justice is a remarkable experience. We are training a new generation of lawyers, judges, policymakers, educators and world leaders in the rule of law. Today we train young men and women. Tomorrow these men and women will be world leaders.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Pleasant Grove City has 11 displays and monuments in Pioneer Park. The displays and monuments were donated by private persons or organizations over a period of more than 80 years. The displays and monuments have come from local people or organizations and depict the history of Mormonism and the city. In 1971, the city accepted a donated monument of the Ten Commandments from The Fraternal Order of Eagles. The city owns, maintains and controls the displays and monuments. The city may remove, modify, remake, or sell the monuments.
Summum is a religion and philosophy that began in 1975, as a result of Claude "Corky" Nowell’s alleged encounter with certain "beings" he describes as "Summum Individuals." Summum practices "Modern Mummification." The Seven Aphorisms include what Summum calls Psychokinesis, Correspondence, Vibration, Opposition, Rhythm, Cause and Effect, and Gender. Summum states that its teachings are similar to Gnostic Christianity.
When Pleasant Grove City rejected Summum's Seven Aphorisms on the basis that Summum was not a local organization nor was the gift associated with any history of the city, Summum filed suit, claiming the city must permanently display the Seven Aphorisms because the city displayed other donated monuments, including the Ten Commandments donated by The Fraternal Order of Eagles some thirty years ago. Incredibly, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Summum and ruled that the city must permanently display Summum's Seven Aphorisms. The American Center for Law and Justice represents the city and requested the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.
By accepting donated displays, the city did not open a forum for everyone wishing to display a monument in the public park. The city owned the donated displays, and the city could remove, modify, remake or sell any of the displays. If the government were required to accept any conflicting message anytime the government spoke through a donated display, then the Statue of Liberty would need to make room for the Statue of Tyranny or perhaps a statue of Stalin or Adolf Hitler. It would not make sense to force the government to include a display devoted to atheism every time it displays a Nativity scene.
The Summum group has no legitimate interest in displaying its Seven Aphorisms. If the government had to display conflicting and confusing messages every time it displays a donated message, the Statue of Liberty would have to make room for the Statue of Tyranny.
Friday, June 20, 2008
On Monday, the homeschooling case known as In re Rachel L. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles will be argued at the California Court of Appeal. On February 28, 2008, the Court of Appeal ruled that parents who lack teaching credentials do not have the right to school their children at home. The decision immediately became the subject of sharp criticism across the Nation, and a U.S. House resolution called for reconsideration of the case. The California Court of Appeal agreed to rehear the case, and oral argument is scheduled for Monday.
Earlier this month, Liberty Counsel filed a 57-page brief in the case on behalf of 19 members of the United States Congress. The brief overviews home education laws of all fifty states and the District of Columbia, where it is legal. In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the rights of parents to direct the education of their children, stating: "The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."
Congressional members represented by Liberty Counsel include: Ken Calvert (CA-44), John Campbell (CA-48), David Davis (TN-1), John Doolittle (CA-4), Tom Feeney (FL-24), Randy Forbes (VA-4), Trent Franks (AZ-2), Robin Hayes (NC-8), Wally Herger (CA-2), Jim Jordan (OH-4), Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Dan Lungren (CA-3), Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11), Gary Miller (CA-42), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Ed Royce (CA-40), Pete Sessions (TX-32), Mark Souder (IN-3), and Howard McKeon (CA-25), who introduced H. Res. 1076, calling on the courts to uphold the fundamental and constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
Parents have a fundamental right to decide how to educate their children. The government does not always know best. Parents have educated their children successfully at home since the founding of this country. Some of the brightest minds in American history were homeschooled. As an attorney who was homeschooled until the seventh grade, I know the value of parent-directed education.
Liberty Counsel represents Daniel and Sharon Dixon in the case of Dixon v. Hallmark Companies. Hallmark owns and manages an apartment complex, which contains units that are government-subsidized by the USDA Rural Development program. Under the USDA program, Hallmark is required to comply with federal employment and housing antidiscrimination laws.
For at least eight years before they were fired and evicted, the Dixons had a 50"x26" piece of stained glass artwork featuring flowers hanging on the wall in the management office where they worked. On the glass was a partial Scripture verse in 1-1/4 inch letters that read: "Consider the Lilies…Matthew 6:28."
In September 2007, Christina Saunders, regional manager for Hallmark, asked Sharon if the words on the artwork referred to Scripture. After Sharon said they did, Sanders told her to remove the artwork. Sharon replied that she needed to discuss it with her co-manager husband, Daniel, and left the office to find him. While Sharon was gone, Sanders consulted her supervisor, Norine Lewis, and then took the artwork and put it inside Daniel and Sharon's apartment. When Sharon returned, Sanders said that Sharon and Daniel were "too religious." She fired them and demanded they vacate their apartment within 72 hours.
The Dixons were granted unemployment compensation over the objection of Hallmark, because Hallmark did not substantiate its claims of misconduct by the Dixons. The Dixons are filing suit today, claiming violations of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of religion. The lawsuit requests punitive damages against Hallmark for reckless indifference to the federal laws.
For eight years, without any complaint, Daniel and Sharon Dixon displayed floral artwork containing a citation to Scripture in their office. They were suddenly terminated as a result of the religious bigotry of one supervisor, even though no one objected to the picture. The Dixons lost their jobs and were booted out on the street, solely because artwork in their office made reference to the Bible. The Constitution and federal law prohibit religious discrimination. There must be ‘room in the inn’ for religious viewpoints.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Yesterday at 5:01 pm (PT), the first same-sex marriage licenses were issued. This happened despite the fact it is well settled in California that "the Legislature has full control of the subject of marriage and may fix the conditions under which the marital status may be created or terminated...." McClure v. Donovan (1949) 33 Cal.2d 717, 728, 205 P.2d 17. The California Family Code specifies that "[a]n unmarried man of 18 years or older and an unmarried female of the age of 18 years or older" may marry. Family Code Section 301 (e). As a part of the marriage license, "the form shall include an affidavit, which the bride and groom shall sign." Family Code Section 505(c). Bride and groom clearly refer to a man and a woman. There is no provision for "Party A" and “Party B.” These statutes, and many others like them, are still in effect.
A recent poll conducted on May 30, 2008 by ccAdvertising shows that 56% of California residents support marriage as one man and one woman. A poll a few weeks ago by the Los Angeles Times similarly revealed that 54% supported the marriage amendment and only 35% opposed it. In November, the people of California will have the opportunity to pass a state constitutional amendment and overrule the 4-3 decision of the California Supreme Court.
The justice system has not been just to the people or the democratic process. Marriage between a man and a woman is universally in the best interest of children. The definition of marriage transcends language barriers and is understood by infants. A few judges may not respect the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, but the common person understands its importance. The people will have the final word on marriage in November. When the people speak for marriage in November and amend California’s constitution, judges will have to listen.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
On May 16 at 5:00 p.m. PT, the Court of Appeal will regain jurisdiction over the same-sex marriage cases. The Supreme Court decision directs the Court of Appeal to take "further action consistent with this opinion." The Supreme Court did not and cannot actually remove the language from the statutes, which must be done by the legislature. See Kopp v. Fair Pol. Practices Comm. (1995) 11 Cal. 4th 607, 675 (Werdegar, J., concurring)(Stating that the power to write laws belongs to the people and political branches of government, not the judiciary). Moreover, the Supreme Court’s decision addressed only two statutes in §300 and §308.5 – Proposition 22). There are many more relevant statutes that were not before the Supreme Court and were not within that Court’s power to address. The Supreme Court cannot rewrite statutes and cannot remove language from the statutes; such must be done by the legislature. The power to write laws belongs ! to the people and political branches of government, not the judiciary.
Many Family Code sections which govern state agencies and government employees were not addressed and are still binding. The Supreme Court held in an earlier related case that local officials cannot refuse to enforce those statutory provisions based upon a belief that they are also unconstitutional. See Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco, (2004) 33 Cal. 4th 1055, 1074.
Since neither the Supreme Court nor the Court of Appeal has declared unconstitutional the myriad of other statutes regarding marriage, local government officials do not have the power to issue marriage licenses until the legislature addresses these statutes. Liberty Counsel asks that the Court of Appeal order that no marriage licenses be issued to same-sex couples until the language cited by the Supreme Court is stricken by the legislature and until there is a judicial determination that the other statutes are unconstitutional.
Liberty Counsel also argues that same-sex marriage licenses should not be issued until after the November 2008 general election, in order to preserve the people’s right to vote on the Marriage Protection Act.
The Supreme Court’s decision has created a mess of the law regarding marriage. Hundreds of laws apply to marriage. The Supreme Court addressed only two. It is inconceivable that by striking down two statutes, the myriad of other marriage laws are automatically changed. They are not. The legislature must act before same-sex marriage is authorized, and the people should be permitted to vote before the legislature acts.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
CEF sponsors the Good News Club for children ages 5 to 12 and also sponsors the Party Club, which is a monthly after-school function for students to enjoy games, crafts, songs, Bible lessons, and scripture memorization. The Rio School Board policy allows all nonprofit organizations to use the school facilities free of charge. Since CEF is a nonprofit organization, this entitles them free usage along with other nonprofits, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The open-access policy also permits CEF and other secular groups to post and distribute information announcing the availability of the after-school opportunities. After receiving a threatening letter, the school district refused to give in to pressure from Annie Laurie Gaylor and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
FFRF erroneously argues that the free use of classrooms after school by CEF violates the Wisconsin constitution, which states: “Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from authorizing, by law, the use of public school buildings by civic, religious or charitable organizations during non-school hours upon payment by the organization to the school district of reasonable compensation for such use.” However, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which preempts state law, requires that CEF and other religious organizations be accorded equal treatment with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and similar secular organizations.
If the district bowed to the pressure from FFRF and denied access to CEF on account of its religious viewpoint, the district would violate the United States Constitution’s protection under the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clauses.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation pushes the most antireligious agenda of any organization in the country. The goal of the Foundation is a religion-free society. The First Amendment provides freedom of religion and not eradication of religion. The school district’s policy providing equal access is clearly constitutional. Religious viewpoints are fully protected under the First Amendment.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Liberty Counsel filed a Petition on behalf of the Campaign for California Families requesting the California Supreme Court to stay its opinion pending the November election. On Monday, the California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, certified the California Marriage Protection Act ("Amendment") for the November 2008 ballot. The Amendment to the California Constitution states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Thus, neither the courts nor any governmental agency will be permitted to validate or recognize any same-sex marriage license.
The cases now will return to the California Court of Appeal for the Supreme Court's order to be implemented. Liberty Counsel is considering filing a petition with Court of Appeal requesting a stay pending the outcome of the November vote on the Amendment. The Court of Appeal panel previously upheld the state’s marriage laws.
Denying a stay in light of the certification of the Marriage Protection Act for the November ballot reveals the political agenda of a handful of judges. Judges acting as judges and not as legislators would have granted the stay. The battle over marriage is far from over and will not be decided by four judges. The people will decide in November. If any same-sex marriage licenses are issued before November, the passage of the constitutional amendment will make them invalid and invisible.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Yesterday, the California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, certified the California Marriage Protection Act ("Amendment") for the November 2008 ballot. The Amendment to the California Constitution states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Liberty Counsel recently filed a Petition requesting the California Supreme Court to stay its opinion pending the vote in November. The Petition also requests the Court to reconsider its decision. Liberty Counsel represents the Campaign for California Families.
A recent poll conducted on May 30, 2008 by ccAdvertising shows that 56% of California residents support marriage as one man and one woman. A poll a few weeks ago by the Los Angeles Times similarly revealed that 54% of those polled supported the Amendment and only 35% opposed it.
Almost two months after the March 4 oral argument, 1,120,590 signed petitions were submitted to the Secretary of State. Only 694,354 petitions were needed to place the Amendment on the November ballot. Unlike Proposition 22, which passed by a margin of 61.4 percent in 2000, but was not a constitutional amendment, the Amendment would amend the state constitution so that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
In light of the certification of the Amendment for the November ballot, the Court must stay its May 15 decision. The Amendment would overrule the Court’s decision and nullify any licenses issued between the end of June and November.
If the Court's ruling goes into effect without modification, individuals could create polygamous and polyamorous relationships. Liberty Counsel has a chart explaining this problem in its Petition and on its web site at www.LC.org. The Court has inadvertently created a system that hopelessly entangles property, custody, visitation and other rights. The decision should therefore be stayed.
Now that we know for certain the California Marriage Protection Act will appear on the November ballot, the California Supreme Court must stay its decision. Issuing a stay is the only course of action. The people of California will have the final say on marriage. I have no doubt that when the people vote, they will affirm marriage as one man and one woman.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Today, Liberty Counsel filed a Petition requesting the California Supreme Court to stay and to reconsider its decision that sanctioned same-sex marriage. Liberty Counsel represents the Campaign for California Families.
Liberty Counsel's Petition requests that the Court stay its opinion pending the upcoming vote in November on the California Marriage Protection Act ("Amendment") ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"). Unlike Proposition 22, passed by a margin of 61.4 percent in 2000, but which was not a constitutional amendment, this ballot initiative will amend the state constitution and thus overrule the Court’s decision. Between April 24 and May 13, 2008, almost two months after the March 4 oral argument, 1,120,590 signed petitions were submitted to the Secretary of State. Only 694,354 petitions are needed to place the Amendment on the November ballot. The Court should stay its decision pending this vote. A stay would avoid the circus-like atmosphere that occurred in 2004 when “same-sex marriage” licenses were issued by San Francisco and then later voided. The Amendment would similarly overrule this Court&! rsquo;s decision and nullify the licenses issued between the end of June and November.
Liberty Counsel's Petition also requests that the Court rehear the case because of unforeseen and unintended consequences of the decision. If the Court's ruling goes into effect without modification, individuals could create polygamous and polyamorous relationships. Parties A and B, C and D, and E and F, who are in a Vermont (or New Jersey and Connecticut) civil union, could all become interconnected when Parties A and C obtain a California same-sex marriage. At the same time B and F and D and E could get married, all at the same time. These polygamous and polyamorous relationships are made possible by this Court’s decision, which opens up marriage to same-sex couples while retaining the AB 205 Domestic Partnership law. This law provides the same rights and benefits as provided to spouses in marriage. It is parallel to marriage except in name. Liberty Counsel has a chart ! explaining this problem in the Petition and on it website at www.LC.org. Liberty Counsel’s Petition points out that the Court has unwittingly created a system that hopelessly entangles property, custody, visitation and other rights. If not stopped, this fiasco will travel like a tsunami, wreaking havoc on couples in California and other states.
The California Supreme Court has created a Gordian Knot that even Alexander the Great could not undo. This case illustrates why judges should leave lawmaking to the legislature. The decision has created unintended and unforeseen consequences, including polygamy and group marriage. Polygamy violates federal law and policy. The Court should stay the case until the people vote in November on the Marriage Protection Amendment, which, when passed, will overrule this outrageous decision.
Read the 29-page petition (in PDF) that has been submitted to the California Supreme Court.
View Liberty Counsel's chart (in PDF) showing how polygamy and polyamory (group marriage) can be recognized in California because of the California same-sex marriage ruling.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Boston Children's Hospital, has launched a clinic where he administers hormone-blocking drugs to children as young as seven years of age. Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which these children allegedly experience, is classified as a mental disorder. A GID diagnosis involves someone whose biology and physiology is indisputably male or female, but subjectively this person has a desire to be the opposite sex. Children that are diagnosed with GID later in life often abandon the desire to be the opposite sex.
Dr. Spack administers either luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) or medroxyprogesterone, which blocks estrogen or testosterone to delay the onset of puberty. The result would stop girls from developing their menstrual cycle, breasts, and other normal female characteristics, and it would stop boys from developing a deeper voice, facial hair, and other normal male characteristics. The dangers involved in children taking these drugs include permanent infertility, increased risk of breast cancer, and more confusion about who they are.
Shortly after stopping children from reaching puberty, cross-hormones are taken to simulate the puberty of the opposite sex. Estrogen is given to boys and testosterone is given to girls, physically transforming these children into the gender they want to be. The final step would involve removal of male or female organs and plastic surgery.
In 1966, Johns Hopkins University started performing the nation’s first "sex reassignment" surgery in its Gender Identity Clinic. In 1979 the university hospital stopped performing these surgeries when it was discovered that the patients' well-being did not improve and the procedures were destroying healthy organs. The hospital decided the best treatment was through psychology, focusing on healing the mind.
Seven-year-old children are thinking about video games and riding their bicycles, not about artificially transitioning to the opposite gender. Since Gender Identity Disorder is purely subjective, it is dangerous and unethical to give drugs to children to block the onset of puberty. Gender Identity Disorder is a mental, not a physical disorder. We do not treat anorexia with liposuction and we should not treat gender confusion with plastic surgery.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The eight-year-old boy, his nine-year-old sister and their parents are represented by Stephen Crampton, Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel, and Wisconsin attorney Michael D. Dean.
The court stated that "it is a violation of a child’s constitutional rights to conduct a search of a child at a private school without a warrant or probable cause, consent, or exigent circumstances." The court held the social worker personally responsible for violating the students’ rights, because the law in this area is so clear that she should have known her actions were unconstitutional. Although the school principal allowed the social worker to interview the students, the social worker never even mentioned that she intended to require the children to remove their clothing. In addition, the social worker refused to allow the principal to contact the parents before the interview or to be present when she forced the children to strip.
The case arose when social services received a bogus report of suspected abuse from the sister of the estranged father of the children, who did not like that the children were spanked. A previous report of suspected abuse by the same aunt two weeks earlier was dismissed out of hand.
Gresbach was an employee of the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. In a previous case, Doe v. Heck, the Bureau was found to have violated the constitutional rights of a child at a private Christian school, and also the rights of the school and the child’s parents under remarkably similar circumstances. Crampton and Dean also represented the parents in that case.
Decades ago, the United States Supreme Court emphatically ruled that the child is not the mere creature of the state. Unfortunately, social workers repeatedly ignore that fact and routinely trample parents' rights under the guise of protecting the children. This ruling sends the message that the Constitution is still in effect protecting law-abiding families from the overreaching arm of the state, both in the home and in private schools.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Liberty Counsel Files Brief in California Homeschool Case on Behalf of Members of United States Congress
On February 28, 2008, the California Court of Appeal ruled that parents who lack teaching credentials do not have the statutory or constitutional right to school their children at home. The decision immediately caught the attention of the Nation and was the subject of sharp criticism.
Representative Howard McKeon (CA-25) introduced H. Res. 1076, calling on the courts to uphold the fundamental and constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. On March 25, 2008, the Court of Appeal agreed to rehear the case.
The brief by Liberty Counsel on behalf of members of Congress overviews home education laws of all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Homeschooling is legal in every state and the District of Columbia. In 1925, the United States Supreme Court recognized the rights of parents to direct the education of their children. The High Court stated: "The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."
The members of Congress represented by Liberty Counsel include: Ken Calvert (CA-44), John Campbell (CA-48), David Davis (TN-1), John Doolittle (CA-4), Tom Feeney (FL-24), Randy Forbes (VA-4), Trent Franks (AZ-2), Robin Hayes (NC-8), Wally Herger (CA-2), Jim Jordan (OH-4), Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Dan Lungren (CA-3), Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11), Howard McKeon (CA-25), Gary Miller (CA-42), Marilyn Musgrave (C0-4), Ed Royce (CA-40), Pete Sessions (TX-32), and Mark Souder (IN-3).
Parents have a fundamental right to direct the education of their children. This right includes the decision to school their children at home. We must assume that parents will act in the best interest of their children and that parents, not the government, know what is best for their children. Homeschooling has become phenomenally successful. Homeschooled children routinely out-perform children educated in the public schools. Some of the brightest minds in American history were homeschooled.
Read the Brief.
In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court held that the law does not violate the First Amendment, noting that offers to engage in illegal transactions are not protected by the First Amendment. Justices Souter and Ginsburg dissented, arguing that porn peddlers who trick purchasers with fake child porn should not be prosecuted.
The Court has already ruled in an earlier case that laws may prohibit obscene material depicting actual or computer-generated images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and any other material depicting actual children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
In 2002, the Court struck down an earlier law passed by Congress that would also prohibit materials that were not really child pornography, such as photos of youthful adults. As a result, Congress reacted by passing the current law that the Court upheld today, which provides for a mandatory 5-year sentence for promoting or attempting to obtain child pornography.
We applaud the Supreme Court’s common sense decision to allow Congress to ban the spread of child pornography. The Department of Justice needs to start vigorously enforcing this law and other anti-obscenity laws that are necessary protect our children from online criminals who would profit from their images and steal their innocence. Pornography is a destructive force that degrades its subjects and twists the minds of the masses of viewers who become hooked on perverted images.
Today, pro-decency and pro-family organizations held a prayer breakfast and a conference at the National Press Club to draw attention to the lack of current enforcement of obscenity laws by the United States Department of Justice and the FBI.
The lack of enforcement undermines the family, subjects children to pornography and increases sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. Following the conference, an orderly demonstration was held at the Department of Justice on Pennsylvania Avenue to draw attention to the enforcement problem.
Sarah Seitz was one of the speakers at the conference. She is Legal Director of the Liberty Center for Law & Policy, a partnership between Liberty Counsel and Liberty University School of Law.
Seitz spoke about Liberty Counsel's case on behalf of librarian Brenda Biesterfeld, who was fired from a library in Tulare County, California, for reporting a patron viewing child pornography. She also discussed the involvement of students at Liberty University School of Law with "Blue Ridge Thunder," an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) taskforce at the Bedford County, Virginia, Sheriff's Office.
Sixteen other prominent pro-family speakers and leaders were featured at the event, including: Ted Baehr, President, Christian Film & TV Commission; Janice Crouse, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Beverly LaHaye Institute; Bill Johnson, President, American Decency Association; Rabbi Yehuda Levin, Spokesperson, Rabbinical Alliance of America; Arthur Taylor, Past President, CBS, Inc.; Pat Trueman, former Chief, Justice Dept.’s Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section; and Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America.
Today's event highlighted the necessity for enforcement of obscenity laws by the Department of Justice and FBI. We must hold the federal government accountable in order to protect the children of this Nation.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Californians may have the chance to overturn the Court's order by amending the state constitution. Over one million signatures in favor of the California Marriage Protection Act are being certified and voters will soon know whether more than 700,000 are valid so that the Act will appear on the November, 2008 ballot.
A stay of the Court's order is needed so that California does not create confusion by recognizing same-sex "marriage" for five months and then suddenly stop after the amendment passes and the Court loses jurisdiction over the issue.
The White House issued a statement about the Court's decision: "President Bush has always believed marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. It’s unfortunate when activist judges continue to seek to redefine marriage by court order – without regard for the will of the people. Today's decision by the California Supreme Court illustrates that a federal constitutional amendment is the best way for the people to decide what marriage means. President Bush remains firmly committed to protecting the sanctity of marriage."
House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (MO) also issued a statement regarding the Court's decision: “Today, the decision of unelected judges to overturn the will of the people of California on the question of same-sex marriage demonstrates the lengths that unelected judges will go to substitute their own worldview for the wisdom of the American people. The Supreme Court of California chose today to legislate from the bench without any concern or deference for the democratic process. "
Please pray that the Court agrees to stay the order so that the people of California can have the last word on protecting marriage in that state.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The California Supreme Court Rewrites the Definition of Marriage- California voters may have the last word
Chief Justice George wrote the majority opinion overturning the marriage laws, joined by Justices Kennard, Werdegar and Moreno. Concurring and dissenting opinions were issued by Baxter, Chin and Corrigan.
Justice Baxter (joined by Justice Chin), wrote: "I cannot join the majority’s holding that the California Constitution gives same-sex couples a right to marry. In reaching this decision, I believe, the majority violates the separation of powers, and thereby commits profound error,” wrote Baxter and Chin. In a concurring and dissenting opinion, Justice Baxter dissented in the conclusion, stating: “I cannot join this exercise in legal jujitsu, by which the Legislature’s own weight is used against it to create a constitutional right from whole cloth, defeat the People’s will, and invalidate a statute otherwise immune from legislative interference."
California residents have submitted petitions to place a state constitutional marriage amendment on the November ballot. If the requisite number is certified in the next few weeks, California voters will have the opportunity to amend their state constitution so that it expressly defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Such an amendment is necessary to protect marriage from being undermined by a mere majority of four justices of the California Supreme Court.
On March 4, 2008, Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, presented oral argument at the California Supreme Court in defense of the marriage laws. The court hearing lasted more than three hours, as each side debated the issue. Liberty Counsel became involved in February 2004.
This ruling defies logic. It is a gross departure from the rule of law. It is outrageous. Traditional marriage is common sense. Yet, this decision is nonsense. No matter how you stretch California’s Constitution, you cannot find anywhere in its text, its history, or tradition that now, after so many years, it magically protects what most societies condemn. Same-sex marriage is not part of our history nor is it woven in the fabric of fundamental freedom. The California Supreme Court has defied logic, undermined the will of the people, and weakened our future. This decision will ignite California voters to amend their state constitution to protect marriage and prevent judges from wrecking marriage.
Read the Court's opinion: PDF or MSWord.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Rena Lindevaldsen will give six presentations that include topics such as: The Family in Civil Society, Teen Sexual Activity, AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Same-Sex Marriage, and The Threat of the Homosexual Agenda on Free Speech and Freedom of Religion. Lindevaldsen is an Assistant Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law and of Counsel for Liberty Counsel.
The purpose of the conference is to provide Chinese Christians an opportunity to learn from international experts on how to defend family values. Sponsors include the Family Values Foundation, the Society for Truth and Light, Hong Kong Sex Culture Society, and local churches. About 1,000 Chinese Christians from Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia are expected to attend.
Hong Kong currently suffers from high abortion, divorce and teen pregnancy rates. Hong Kong currently allows for greater religious expression in public places than in the United States. There is still prayer in schools, and judges still have crosses displayed in judicial chambers. On the other hand, the public officials really cannot say anything religious related to their official decisions.
The International Conference on Family Values has been in the planning stages for more than 2 years. In 2006, Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, arranged a training and educational conference at the school of law in Lynchburg, Virginia, for some of the organizational leaders from Hong Kong. Speakers at the conference included attorneys from Liberty Counsel and faculty of Liberty University School of Law.
This International Conference on Family Values provides an historic opportunity to equip the Chinese people to strengthen and to defend marriage and family values.
The launch of the International Conference on Family Values in Hong Kong is the beginning of a strategic partnership between Chinese leaders and American pro-family organizations. Liberty University School of Law and Liberty Counsel are pleased to be a part of this historic event.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Liberty Counsel has published a free legal memo on graduation prayer which is available online at www.LC.org. Students are encouraged to wear Liberty Counsel’s red “I WILL PRAY” wristbands as a reminder to pray. Students have the constitutional right to wear religious jewelry and to pray during noninstructional times during the school day.
In a precedent-setting case against the ACLU, Adler v. Duval County School Board, Liberty Counsel won the right of students to pray or give religious messages at graduation. The case went before a federal appeals court five times and to the U.S. Supreme Court twice. The case established the legal principle that public schools are safe to adopt a policy allowing students or other speakers to present either secular or religious messages, including prayer.
In 2007, Liberty Counsel filed suit on behalf of Erica Corder, a valedictorian in Denver, Colorado, who mentioned Jesus Christ during a 30-second graduation message. Her principal threatened to withhold her diploma unless she issued a written apology to the entire school community. The case is still in litigation.
In 2006, Liberty Counsel represented Megan Chapman, a graduating senior and class chaplain in Russell Springs, Kentucky, who found herself the subject of a court order forbidding her from praying during graduation. The order was obtained by the ACLU. The entire senior class reacted to the controversy by standing and reciting the Lord’s Prayer, after which Megan stepped to the podium and shared about what God meant in her life. After hearing about the situation, Dr. Jerry Falwell gave both Megan and her twin sister, Mandy, full scholarships to Liberty University. Their story was featured on a segment of CNN’s God’s Christian Warriors. The twins are finishing their second year at Liberty. Mandy volunteers with Liberty Counsel and plans to attend Liberty University School of Law.
The purpose of Liberty Counsel’s ‘Friend or Foe’ Graduation Prayer Campaign is to protect religious viewpoints at graduation. Liberty Counsel will be the friend of schools that recognize the free speech rights of students and invited speakers and the foe of those that violate their constitutional rights. The key to graduation prayer is that the school should neither command nor prohibit voluntary prayer or religious viewpoints.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
President Bush has proclaimed Thursday, May 1, 2008 as the 57th annual National Day of Prayer. All across the Nation, there will be privately-sponsored prayer breakfasts, prayer walks and prayer gatherings at state capitol buildings, city halls, churches, schools and parks. In Washington, D.C., there is a 90-hour prayer and Bible-reading marathon outside of the Capitol building leading up to the National Day of Prayer.
Similar events will be held in many cities and towns. Public events have been organized by churches and religious organizations in all 50 states. Liberty Counsel will be participating in the 41st annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Orlando, Florida, which is a Kick-Off Event for National Day of Prayer events throughout Central Florida.
It sounds like a serene and unifying time for Americans to be reminded of our deep and historical religious roots. However, whenever God is mentioned in this society, controversy cannot be far behind. Some groups like the pro-Muslim group, CAIR (Counsel on American Islamic Relations), complain that prayer events organized by Christians on that day are slanted towards Christianity, rather than being “inclusive” of other faiths. They want to hijack the traditional Christian prayer events and turn the national focus from a time of intersession into a watered-down version with moments of silence and reflection.
A California chapter of the anti-Christian group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is trying to undermine Christians by petitioning Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger not to support events hosted by evangelical Christians. The ultra-liberal Interfaith Alliance of Central California is actually holding a protest at a Christian prayer event in that state.
One radical group is insisting that “other faith traditions” be included in any public observances that are organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which is a private Christian group that was started in order to coordinate events on the National Day of Prayer. The prayer coordinators sign a statement of faith in Jesus. There are recent indications that some with the Task Force may be bowing to pressures to try not “offend” non-Christians by praying in Jesus’ name. Honorary Chairman Ravi Zacharias plans to deliver a prayer at an interdenominational National Day of Prayer event in Washington, D.C. Instead of invoking Jesus’ name, his written prayer concludes, “In God’s Holy Name.”
Zacharias’ prayer stands in stark contrast to the first prayer of the Continental Congress, which was delivered on September 7, 1774 by Reverend Jacob Duché. That distinctly Christian prayer ended with the words: “All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen.” It is the name of Jesus that separates the Christian faith from non-Christian faiths.
This nation was birthed by Christianity and national prayers have traditionally recognized that fact. The National Day of Prayer was established by an act of Congress in 1952, but the origin of prayer proclamations pre-date Congress.
Here is a list of a just a few of this Nation’s many prayer proclamations:
• On June 12, 1775 the First Continental Congress issued a proclamation for a national day of “Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer,” held on July 20. This event set the precedent for future proclamations.
• Congress set May 17, 1776, as a “day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” throughout the colonies. Congress urged Americans to “confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his [God’s] righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness.”
• John Adams continued the practice of issuing fasting and prayer proclamations, when he declared May 9, 1798 for that purpose.
• Congress set the first Thursday in May, 1779 as a day of “Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer to Almighty God.”
• President George Washington declared Feb. 19, 1795 a day for prayer and public thanksgiving.
• President John Adams proclaimed May 9, 1798 a national day of “Solemn Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer.”
• President James Madison proclaimed a day of “public humiliation and prayer” in August, 1812 in response to a joint resolution of Congress calling for the proclamation.
• President James Buchanan proclaimed a national day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer for January 4, 1861.
• President Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressional Resolution calling for a Day of Prayer on March 30, 1863.
• President Harry Truman signed legislation in 1952 proclaiming a National Day of Prayer. The bill had widespread support and passed unanimously by Congress.
• In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 100-307 which was passed by Congress to fix the annual National Day of Prayer permanently on the first Thursday of May. Vonette Bright, Co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, who headed the National Prayer Committee, proposed the legislation that was unanimously approved by both houses of Congress.
Days of prayer and fasting are a traditional and important part of American history. Prayer and spiritual renewal are necessary to sustain liberty. We need leaders in all sectors, both public and private, who are not afraid to acknowledge Jesus Christ. Christians should never forget Who gave us our freedom. Without Him, this Nation will not and cannot long endure.