Smoky Mountains Sunrise
Showing posts with label ACLU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ACLU. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

US Catholic Charities Forced to Disclose Whether They Provide Immigrants with Abortions

Charities providing help to immigrant children must provide contraception to youngsters, according to government regulations

The American Civil Liberties Union is taking the US federal government to court to find out whether Catholic Charities are providing abortions to illegal immigrants.

According to Vox, the ACLU is filing the unusual lawsuit to find out whether illegal unaccompanied migrants have access to contraception and abortion while being cared for by Catholic charities.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ACLU: Religious Hospitals Should Be Required to Perform ‘Emergency’ Abortions

From Catholic World News

The American Civil Liberties Union has asked the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to require religious hospitals to offer “emergency” abortions.

Former Senator Rick Santorum’s recent Philadelphia Inquirer column on the issue draws wider attention to the ACLU’s action, which was taken this summer. Citing Bishop Thomas Olmsted’s opposition to a Phoenix Catholic hospital’s decision to permit an abortion, the ACLU said that “the government must ensure that the well-being of the patient does not take a back seat to religious beliefs.”

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Florida School District Faces Lawsuit Over Ban on Religious Expression

From LifeSiteNews

he Santa Rosa County School District
faces a lawsuit from a Christian legal advocacy group for allegedly violating First Amendment rights of teachers, students, and other individuals by muzzling their ability to exercise their religious beliefs in public.

Liberty Counsel (LC) has filed a comprehensive lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County School District and its Superintendent, Timothy S. Wyrosdick, accusing them of persistent and widespread violations of First Amendment rights.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two dozen individuals, including teachers, staff, students, former students, parents, volunteers and local members of the community, all of whom say they have been silenced, censored, intimidated or harassed by the school district at the behest of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The school district had agreed to a Consent Decree drafted by the ACLU and entered by a federal court, that LC says criminalizes protected religious expression, such as voluntary, student-initiated prayers or off-the-clock religious discussion among adults.

The suit says that students can no longer say “God Bless,” Christian teachers are relegated to the closet as far as any manifestation of their beliefs go, parents cannot communicate frankly with teachers, volunteers cannot answer any questions regarding religion, Christian groups cannot rent school facilities for private religious functions benefiting students, and pastors are dictated how they can and cannot seat their audiences at private, religious baccalaureate services held inside their own houses of worship.

Initially, the ACLU got involved when two graduating minors and their parents appeared as plaintiffs in a complaint filed against the School Board, Superintendent, and H. Frank Lay in his official capacity as principal of Pace High School.

Rather than fight the complaint, the school district voluntarily agreed to pay off the ACLU with $200,000 in legal fees, and enter into a Consent Decree, which the lawsuit says contains “broad prohibitions against religious speech and expression” by school district employees “anytime those employees are present at a ‘School Event,’ regardless of whether they are there in their official or private capacity.”

School events are defined as “any happening sponsored, approved or supervised by a School Official.”

Liberty Counsel says three school officials have since faced civil and criminal contempt charges at the hands of the ACLU and the school district, and that many school employees are afraid of speaking out against the policy for fear of losing their jobs.

“The Consent Decree defines, and the School Board interprets, the word ‘Prayer’ broadly, to include not just communications with a deity in the traditional sense, where the person praying postures with head bowed, eyes closed and hands folded, but any form of religious expression or conduct, such as engaging in religious discourse, reading or discussing the Bible, or merely greeting other individuals with ‘God Bless You’ or ‘I am praying for you,’” says the lawsuit.

School officials torpedoed a thirty-year tradition of having the student body President address fellow students at Pace High School, because the student president for the 2008-2009 school year included in her speech a reference thanking God for her success and encouraged students to go out boldly into the world knowing God loves them and has great plans for them.

At Milton High School, one school official sternly warned every student at a practice for graduation exercises that anyone who would initiate or participate in any prayer during the graduation ceremony would be ejected immediately.

“Freedom fled from Santa Rosa County when the ACLU filed suit. Liberty Counsel intends to restore freedom and end the intimidation,” commented Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is seeking to have the court issue an injunction stopping enforcement on the Consent Decree, a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the order, and award damages to plaintiffs for violations of the United States Constitution.

The complaint and attached evidence can be found here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pro-Life Teen Barred from Receiving Honor by Ohio House Speaker

ACLU urges speaker to reconsider

Fascist Democrat Armond Budish

In what critics are calling an unprecedented act of bias, pro-abortion Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish (D-Beechwood) has denied Shelby County teen Elisabeth Trisler a routine legislative honor, evidently because he objects to Trisler's pro-life values. Budish is refusing to allow Trisler on the House floor to accept a legislative resolution, authored by Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney), which honors Trisler's accomplishment as the National Right to Life Oratory Contest winner.

Alongside local pro-life leaders, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio has criticized the move, indicating the refusal amounted to "teaching young people that the answer is to silence those who disagree with us."

Honorary resolutions such as the one given to Trisler are routinely presented at the start of Ohio House legislative sessions to constituents, including those who win athletic championships or academic contests. In this case, however, Trisler will receive the resolution in the mail, according to Ohio Right to Life.

"Surely Speaker Budish can put aside his partisanship for 10 minutes to honor the accomplishments of a talented and optimistic teenage girl," said Ohio Right to Life Executive Director Mike Gonidakis. "Perhaps his real message to Ohio's teens is that excelling in public speaking isn't worth being honored if their views are different than his."

State Rep. John Adams called the Speaker's denial "an outrage."

Trisler won the National Right to Life Oratory Contest held at the NRLC Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in June, 2009. During the second half of 2009, Rep. Adams's office worked to schedule the presentation of Trisler's proclamation on the House floor, as is typical of such awards. The presentation was scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, 2010.

However, on January 29th, the House Clerk informed Rep. Adams's office the presentation would not take place because the Speaker "had a problem with the subject matter." The clerk advised the representative's staff to take the matter up with the Speaker. Speaker Budish supports abortion.

"The Ohio House chamber is a monument to the importance of oratory and persuasion on the great issues facing our state," said Gonidakis. "Silencing someone because you disagree is a terrible lesson to teach teens. The Speaker should reconsider his unfortunately petty decision."

ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link also criticized the move, which she says created a "troubling precedent."

"Instead of teaching young people that the answer is to silence those who disagree with us, legislators should be modeling how to address difficult issues thoughtfully and listen respectfully to others," said Link.

"Ohio has a diverse political and social landscape that includes a broad spectrum of views that may be controversial to some," she continued. "If we limit whose achievements may be honored, we are only contributing to the notion that these issues are divisive and cannot reasonably be discussed."

Keary McCarthy, the communications director at Speaker Budish's office, said that the Speaker's decision was consistent with precedent that such a presentation should not be used as a platform for a specific political agenda.

"The Speaker believes it's important to avoid having political interests on either side of the aisle abuse this brief opportunity for celebration and recognition," McCarthy told

However, he said, "the Speaker will gladly reconsider the request of Representative Adams if appropriate discretion is used in a way that does not contradict the history of the House" for not using the reception as a forum for advocacy.

Contact information:

Armond Budish
Speaker of the House, Ohio House of Representatives
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 466-5441
Fax: (614) 719-0008

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Airport Rules Changed after Ron Paul Aide Detained

From The Washington Times
By Stephen Dinan

An angry aide to Rep. Ron Paul, an iPhone and $4,700 in cash have forced the Transportation Security Administration to quietly issue two new rules telling its airport screeners they can only conduct searches related to airplane safety.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union is dropping its lawsuit on behalf of Steve Bierfeldt, the man who was detained in March and who recorded the confrontation on his iPhone as TSA and local police officers spent half an hour demanding answers as to why he was carrying the money through Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

The new rules, issuedin September and October, tell officers "screening may not be conducted to detect evidence of crimes unrelated to transportation security" and that large amounts of cash don't qualify as suspicious for purposes of safety.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shackles Follow Shekels

From The Asbury Park Press
ByCharles C. Haynes

When President Barack Obama launched his faith-based initiative at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, he promised not only to sustain the Bush administration's signature domestic program — but to expand it.

For religious groups, this means continued access to billions of federal dollars for a wide range of social services — from homeless shelters to drug rehabilitation programs — run by houses of worship across the nation.

Critics of the Bush faith-based initiative have long charged that tax money has flowed to religious groups without sufficient constitutional safeguards against such practices as religious discrimination in hiring and proselytizing in government-funded programs.

In announcing his version of the program, Obama pledged not to blur "the line our founders wisely drew between church and state." But it remains to be seen exactly where this president intends to draw that line.

Many religious and political conservatives are pressuring the new administration not to place limits on preaching or hiring, arguing that religious groups must be free to carry out their mission in ways authentic to their faith. Meanwhile, many civil libertarians are warning of more political and legal fallout if the proselytizing and employment issues aren't addressed.

Just this month, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal appeals court to allow taxpayers to challenge public funding of a Baptist child care agency in Kentucky that Americans United alleges "proselytizes youngsters in its care and discriminates against gay employees who do not share its belief that homosexuality is sinful."

However Obama resolves this debate — and the betting is that he will side with civil rights groups and church-state watchdogs — houses of worship should think twice about the wisdom of getting into bed with the government in the first place.

During the Bush era, I asked an evangelical leader if he thought sending tax money to religious groups for social services was constitutional. He said yes — but he still advises congregations not to take the money. The government, he said, is like a python: Once you are entangled, you get the life squeezed out of you.

Lest we forget, the establishment clause of the First Amendment is intended not only to prevent religious control of government, but also government control of religion. State-imposed regulations and conditions inevitably dilute the faith in faith-based programs. As they say in Washington, with shekels come shackles.

Government money also threatens religious autonomy and freedom. Under the First Amendment, religious groups in America have always relied on the voluntary support of adherents to advance their mission. As a consequence, faith groups have been free to speak truth to power without fear of state reprisal. But reliance on government support would surely muffle that prophetic voice.

In stark contrast to the moribund, tax-supported churches in Western Europe, thousands of American faith communities thrive in the marketplace of religious competition. Separating church from state is very good for religion and essential for full religious liberty.

Of course, the temptation is to take the money — especially at a time when so many people are in such dire need of help. But when government funding compromises the faith mission, undermines religious independence and creates dependency on government, it is too high a price to pay.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Root Cause of the War on Christmas

From the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

Catholic League president Bill Donohue explains why the war on Christmas exists:

“The root cause of the war on Christmas, which is conducted almost exclusively by well-educated white people in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia—the very same people who like gay marriage—has almost nothing to do with fidelity to law (the First Amendment in the U.S.): it has to do with ideology.

“The ideology is plainly an expression of left-wing secularism, and it is nothing if not anti-Western and anti-Christian. At its worst, it is driven by hatred; at its best, it is driven by a defensive posture, a deep sense of embarrassment over the legacy of Western civilization. There is no historical or moral justification for either. Moreover, those who are pushing this agenda generally lie about their work.

“When Patricia Short, the principal of Will Rogers Elementary in Ventura County, California, says of the school’s holiday choir that ‘We can’t have anything with a religious reference,’ she is flatly wrong: not only is there no law barring religious songs being sung in the public schools, the courts have affirmed just the opposite (see the 1980 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Florey v. Sioux Falls School District). To show how duplicitous these cultural fascists are, consider that when a Jewish woman from North Carolina failed to get an elementary school to ban ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,’ she pushed to get a Hanukkah song sung. So it’s not religious songs that bother her, just Christian ones.

“Want proof that hate is driving this assault? The head of the ACLU in New Hampshire, Claire Ebel, advises that if crèches are allowed in parks, it is permissible ‘for a display of satanic ritual.’ And this hatred of Christmas is not exclusive to the U.S. In England, Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary called Christmas ‘evil’ in a recent sermon. No wonder they are banning words like ‘bishop,’ ‘chapel,’ ‘monk’ and ‘nun’ from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. And all of this is being endorsed, if not promoted, by self-hating Christians, as well.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ACLU Silencing Praying Coaches

By Charlie Butts

Are public school coaches permitted to pray silently alongside their players? The Rutherford Institute is taking this question to the U.S. Supreme Court for a decision.

Coach Marcus Borden ran into trouble with a new policy at East Brunswick High School in New Jersey, which stated that coaches cannot recognize prayers initiated by their players because coaches are public employees and their participation would violate "separation of church and state." Borden told WorldNetDaily that he simply wants to bow his head during the prayer out of respect for his students and his team.

John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute says the school's policy would nullify a tradition that has been part of the high school's pre-game routine for the last 25 years.

"But in our case, all Coach Borden wanted to do was to bow his head silently as the students prayed in the locker room -- sometimes what they call 'take an eagle.' They'd go down on one knee, and he's standing outside behind the circle of players," he explains. "He's not influencing them. He's just listening and really just doing what coaches have done -- since Knute Rockne, by the way."

The Institute won on a lower level, but the ACLU convinced the school district to appeal. "It's a very important case. We've had a lot of people file briefs on our behalf," Whitehead adds. "I think the Supreme Court's going to hear this case. It's going to really set the tone for what can be done in public schools."

Whitehead believes this policy, if it stands, will strip high school teachers and coaches across the nation of their First Amendment and academic rights.