An atheist group is demanding a Florida City Hall remove its nativity display, arguing that its presence on government property is an unconstitutional union of church and state. Residents and officials in the city are fighting back, however, demanding that the display stay on City Hall premises and arguing that America needs to take back its rights to religious freedom and free speech.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims that earlier in December it received notification of a nativity scene on City Hall property in Chipley, Fla., nearly 90 miles west of Tallahassee. The organization, which demands the separation of church and state in the public square, then reportedly sent a letter to Chipley's government officials requesting that they remove the nativity scene.
"The Supreme Court has ruled it impermissible to place a nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property," the FFRF reportedly wrote in an email to Chipley Mayor Linda Cain, according to WJHG-TV. Andrew Seidel, an attorney for the FFRF, added to the local WMBB-TV that "erecting a display with a message that's central to the Christian religion can only be seen as an endorsement of that message." more >>
This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering a religious liberty case so historic that the central issue winds like a distant road all the way back to a question raised 369 years ago: is government above God?
NRB has begun preparations to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in an appeal that pits the U.S. Government against Hobby Lobby, owned by the Green family, as well as Conestoga Wood Specialties, another family-owned, faith-based company that has religious objections against being forced to provide abortion-inducing drug coverage in their health insurance plans. The insurance issue has arisen because, in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama Administration has expressly refused to afford for-profit companies, even religiously founded ones, an exemption from the abortion mandate provisions of the Act.
The tension between government and religious liberty was addressed by 17th Century Scottish pastor and divinity professor Samuel Rutherford in his treatise Lex Rex, published in 1644. Rutherford wrote that law should be above government, not the other way around, and that God, who is the only rightful force that "can lay a band of subjection on the conscience," resides squarely above law. But the lawyers for the Obama Administration have it backwards. In court filings, they have argued that family-owned businesses, founded on spiritual principles, have no right to place God above government regulations, and cannot complain that their religious consciences have been coerced by ACA regulations - coerced, in fact, to the tune of millions of dollars in penalties if the government's view prevails (in the case of Hobby Lobby, a minimum of at least $26 million per year). more >>
In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have voiced their support for a group of high school cheerleaders in Texas who are currently involved in a lawsuit over painting Bible verses on banners prior to school football games. A judge had previously ruled the religious banners were constitutional after the school initially banned them, and the case is currently before the Ninth District Court of Appeals.
Cruz and Cornyn submitted a joint amicus brief in the court case Kountze Independent School District v. Cotti Matthews last week. The court case is between the Kountze Independent School District and parents of students at Kountze High School in East Texas.
Last year, the school district ordered cheerleaders at the high school to stop painting Bible passages on large paper banners, which football players would run through at the start of each football game. The school district had banned the banners after receiving a threatening letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and parents filed a lawsuit against the district arguing that because the banners were created by the cheerleaders, they were not endorsed by the public school and therefore were not in violation of the Establishment Clause. more >>
A teacher in Illinois is being criticized after he reportedly told one of his students she could only write on the topic of abortion for an assignment if she wrote from a pro-abortion perspective.
Abigail Cornejo, a sophomore at Palatine High School in Palatine, Illinois recently asked her teacher if she could write on abortion for a class assignment that asked students to write on a controversial issue. The teacher, David Valentino, reportedly told the student she could not write on the topic of abortion because he's read too many papers on the issue and doesn't care anymore. When Cornejo reportedly pressed Valentino about writing on abortion, the teacher said ultimately she could write on the subject if she did so from a pro-abortion perspective.
"My English class is doing a controversial issue research paper," Cornejo told LifeNews in a recent interview. "My English teacher, Mr. David Valentino originally told the class we may not do abortion, euthanasia, or legalization or marijuana. I asked why we couldn't do infanticide, abortion and he replied with, 'I've read too many papers on it. I don't care anymore.'" more >>
A Michigan school board has decided to restore "In God we trust" to a school sign.
After the Pine River Area District in Osceola County merged two elementary schools, it created a new sign showcasing its new identity. In the corner of the sign, the artist painted the United States' motto, In God we trust.
The school's superintendent Jim Ganger said the artist had no intention of making a political or religious statement, but was merely including a trademark he had repeated in all of his pieces. more >>