A magistrate judge has ruled that a New York public school's removal of Christian items from a science teacher's classroom was legal. The teacher, Joelle Silver, had multiple Bible verses on display, as well as a painting that included three crosses on a hill, and a prayer request box on her desk that was placed there by the school's Bible Study Club, which she served as a faculty monitor.
The decision given Tuesday by a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York dismissed part of the motion given by the Christian teacher.
Judge Leslie G. Foschio argued that Silver's lawsuit against Cheektowaga Central School District, its Superintendent Dennis Kane and its Board of Education President Brian J. Gould could not proceed on the basis of her rights being violated when they removed the Christian items. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a law in Massachusetts creating abortion clinic buffer zones for pro-life demonstrators was unconstitutional.
In a unanimous decision, the high court ruled Thursday morning that Massachusetts could not force pro-life demonstrators into "buffer zones" to prevent them from being located near an abortion clinic's entrance and exits.
According to SCOTUSBlog, the main focus of the decision stemmed from the buffer zone ordinance including public ways and sidewalks. more >>
The Supreme Court is about to issue its ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. Regardless of where you stand on the issues, what's at stake in these two cases is American religious liberty itself. America was founded on the principle that every person has the right to live her faith freely without fear of punishment, guaranteed by the First Amendment. The exercise of one's conscience is an exercise in religious liberty, since our views of right and wrong are grounded in our understanding of Who God is and what He demands.
Longstanding legislation prohibits laws that substantially burden a person's free exercise of religion, except if the government shows that the burden furthers a compelling interest using the least restrictive means. In the case of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood it seems unlikely that the government has successfully shown a compelling interest for imposing a burden that limits the religious freedom of the American people.
As Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out at the oral argument in late March to Solicitor General Donald Verilli, who represented the government, it was the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that wrote what was required to be covered under "preventive" care services, not Congress. At the time, Justice Kennedy asked: "What kind of constitutional structure do we have if the Congress can give an agency the power to grant or not grant a religious exemption based on what the agency determined? … When we have a First Amendment issue of this consequence, shouldn't we indicate that it's for the Congress, not the agency to determine that this corporation gets the exemption or that one?" more >>
Both the U.S. House and Senate have passed a bill that would have former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous D-Day prayer engraved on the national World War II monument in Washington, D.C. The bill now needs to be approved by President Barack Obama.
The House of Representatives agreed to pass the bill in a 370 to 12 vote on Monday. Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio's 6th District sponsored the House version of the bill, and a Senate version had already been passed when it was sponsored by Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman earlier in June.
The bill would give the Interior Department permission to engrave the famous prayer on the National World War II monument in Washington, D.C. The prayer, known simply as the "D-Day Prayer," was said by former president FDR on June 6, 1944 as a safeguard for the allied forces landing on the beaches of Normandy, France to fight Nazi troops. more >>
Three reporters from the Al Jazeera media network have been sentenced to prison in Egypt, sparking an international outcry from family members and groups like Amnesty International, who call the sentencing a "sham."
An Egyptian court sentenced the three Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison, each on terrorism charges related to the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The court determined the three defendants, Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed, were guilty of showing bias for Morsi during civilian protests and his ousting from power last year. Along with the seven-year sentence, Mohammed, a producer for the Al Jazeera network, received an additional three years for a second charge. more >>
The great American film director Frank Capra was an Italian immigrant. He came to the U.S. as a boy, worked hard to apply his talents to his chosen field, and such classic films as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "It's a Wonderful Life" are the result.
In 1982, Capra was given a Lifetime Achievement award by the American Film Institute. In his acceptance speech, he didn't just talk about movies or drop names. Instead, he talked about his love of his country. "America," he said, "just for living here, I kiss the ground."
That deep love of the world's most remarkable country touches a chord with all of us who cherish the liberty, prosperity, and opportunity our nation affords. It's that vision of America, a land of freedom where incredible things can be achieved by ordinary people, which still brings in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from across the globe today. more >>