You are here
CitizenLink is proud to work with the Missouri Family Policy Council and other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state.
by the Missouri Family Policy Council
The nation’s leading sports network has eggnog on its face after rejecting an advertisement because of its Christmas religious message.
ESPN refused to run an ad produced for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation in St. Louis, which was slated to appear during a Missouri Valley Conference college basketball game. The Foundation is the fundraising arm for the nationally known children’s hospital by the same name.
The ad included the lines: “We celebrate the birth of Jesus and the season of giving…” and “Help us reveal God’s healing presence this Christmas.”
ESPN officials said that the references to God and Jesus were “problematic,” and did not meet the network’s “commercial advocacy standards.”
Dan Buck, executive director for the Foundation, said the 30-second spot encouraged viewers to send messages to sick and injured children who are hospitalized over the Christmas holidays.
“We do celebrate the birth of Jesus at Cardinal Glennon. We’re very proud of our faith heritage and we promote that. We let people know that we pray for our children.”
ESPN changed its tune following a highly critical public backlash, including hundreds of negative responses on the network’s website and Facebook page. Spokesmen for the sports giant said they decided to accept the ad after giving it “a harder look.”
Doug Napier, attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that the ESPN posture was incredulous. “To say there is too much Jesus in a Christmas message is like saying there is too much sports on ESPN.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the Missouri Family Policy Council.
A federal judge on Friday struck down part of a Utah law making polygamy illegal. Family advocates say the ruling, if carried out, will harm children.
The family of Kody Brown — made famous by the TLC reality series “Sister Wives” — filed suit against the law in 2011. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups claims the part of the law making cohabitation illegal violates the Constitution.
Jeff Johnston, sexuality and marriage analyst for Focus on the Family, said this case “piggy-backs on same-sex cases that legalize same-sex marriage.”
“What these cases do,” he said, “is put adults ahead of the children. That’s the way we’ve moved in our culture — we’ve made marriage more about the wants and needs of adults rather than kids. The judge is just following this ‘logic,’ which is leading to same-sex marriage in different states.”
As Utah became a state in 1896, Congress required state lawmakers to outlaw polygamy as a condition of joining the Union. Friday’s ruling removes the ban on cohabiting. If appealed, the case would head to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
Johnston explained that just because there are examples of polygamous relationships in the Old Testament, it does not mean it has God’s stamp of approval.
“The Bible is really honest about human relationships, human failings and human sin,” he said. “It describes all kinds of problem-relationships, and it shows the problems in those relationships. There’s often jealousy between the spouses and between the children, and there’s conflict a lot of times.”
God’s design for marriage, though, clearly involves just one man and one woman.
“While the Bible describes these other relationships, the only kind of relationship that the Bible prescribes is a marriage relationship between one husband and one wife,” Johnston said. “We know that is what’s best for children.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the opinion in Brown v. Buhman.
Although some groups do not approve of students celebrating Christmas at school — with some even trying to stop it — a recent poll shows most Americans support it.
According to a Rasmussen survey, 75 percent of American adults believe Christmas should be celebrated in public schools. They feel just as strongly that religious symbols should be allowed on public property.
Though the Constitution protects such celebrations, some school administrators appear to be unsure of students’ rights. Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter last month to more than 13,000 school districts across the country reminding school officials of these protections.
“Public schools’ confusion about this issue and the legalities of celebrating Christmas in other ways has been largely caused by inaccurate information about the Establishment Clause spread by certain groups opposed to any religious expression occurring in public,” the letter states.
For example, a South Carolina school cancelled its annual Operation Christmas Child project last month after the American Humanist Association threatened to sue the school. Renee Mathews, principal of East Point Academy in West Columbia, told Fox News she thought she had no other choice.
And last week, a Texas school reversed its ban on Christmas and all things red and green. The reversal came after state House Rep. Pat Fallon sent a letter to official in the Frisco Independent School District reminding them of the state Merry Christmas bill, signed into law this summer.
“The Constitution both allows and protects the celebration of Christmas in public schools,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope the materials we are providing to school districts will help clear up the misinformation that groups attempting to cleanse all traces of religion from the public square have spread for far too long.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
View the wording in the Rasmussen survey.
Read the letter ADF sent to school district across the nation.
CitizenLink is proud to work with Connerstone Action and other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state.
by Charlie McKinney
We are proud to announce today that Bryan McCormack will serve as the new Executive Director of Cornerstone beginning January 2014. A New Hampshire native, Bryan is a graduate of Saint Anselm College and worked as a field representative for the Romney campaign in 2012.
Bryan brings to Cornerstone political savvy as well as experience in marketing, fundraising, and politics. Through his work on the Romney campaign he has developed a diverse network of contacts in New Hampshire, and he will use his skills to advance the Cornerstone message throughout the state.
Most important, Bryan brings to Cornerstone a strong passion for preserving life and the family, and I am deeply impressed by his remarkable instinct for how to get things done–and a track record to back it up.
Our former executive director, Ashley Pratte, who is already working in Washington, DC, wrote this to me this week:
“I am so thrilled that Bryan accepted the position as the new Executive Director. I am confident that he will continue Cornerstone’s momentum and will be an exceptional advocate for Granite State families. He is a talented, motivated, and dedicated individual and I have no doubt that he will accomplish great things. I look forward to helping him transition and can’t wait to see all the good work he and Cornerstone will do this legislative session.”
Please join me in welcoming Bryan to the Cornerstone family. You will be hearing from him the coming days. In the meantime, please keep him and our mission in your prayers.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about Cornerstone Action.
After public outrage — and no shortage of national media coverage — a Texas school district reversed its ban on Christmas and all things red and green.
Last month, a PTA email from Nichols Elementary in Frisco informed parents of “rules” for the upcoming “winter party.” It said there would be no “reference to Christmas or any other religious holiday.” The email also said Christmas trees and the colors red and green would not be allowed.
The plot thickened once Texas House Rep. Pat Fallon got involved. The lawmaker sent a letter to the district reminding the superintendent of the Merry Christmas Bill. Gov. Rick Perry signed HB 308 into law this summer.
“It’s good to finally know that it’s OK to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Frisco schools,” said Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz. “Thankfully, parents in Frisco were informed of their rights, and their local Texas House Rep. Pat Fallon took the right action to protect his constituents’ right to acknowledge Christmas.”
Last week, the Frisco Independent School District issued a statement underscoring students’ right to say “Merry Christmas” and display the colors red and green, if they wish. The PTA announced the reversal this Wednesday.
“We hope other school districts in Texas can learn from this situation,” Saenz said, “and ensure that freedom is protected.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about Texas Values.
Learn more about MerryChristmasTexas.com.
Read the letter Rep. Fallon wrote to The Frisco Independent School District (ISD).
The U.S. House passed legislation Thursday that, among other things, would help protect religious freedom in the military.
“The passage of the 52nd National Defense Authorization Act is a tremendous achievement for the 113th Congress,” Rep. Buck McKeon. The California lawmaker introduced H. Res. 441. It would change existing law to say the “Armed Forces shall accommodate individual expressions of belief of a member of the armed forces…”
The resolution would require the Pentagon to consult with faith-groups that endorse military chaplains in drafting the regulations. It also would require the Secretary of Defense to conduct surveys of military chaplains to assess whether their religious freedom has been infringed upon.
The resolution will be sent to the Senate for final approval.
“This legislation continues our effort to rebuild a military that has been tested by a decade at war. It upholds the unwavering tradition of congressional oversight, while providing support to the warfighter and value to the taxpayer,” McKeon said. “Soon members may depart the nation’s capital to be with their loved ones for the holidays. Let me take this opportunity to remind them that, for thousands of troops around the world, homecoming may still be months away. I hope they will see the passage of this legislation as a sign of steadfast support for them and their cause from a grateful nation.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about H. Res 441.
A federal judge said the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross must be removed from the San Diego site. Liberty Institute vows to appeal the decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — if necessary.
The tug-of-war started in 1989 when the ACLU and other groups filed suit saying the cross violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Since then many attempts have been made to save the cross. Congress passed a law in 2004 making the city-owned display a national memorial.
“The judge reluctantly agreed with a previous ruling by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that this hallowed veterans memorial must be removed,” said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute.
Sasser said he’s confident that the memorial will win on appeal.
The cross, which was erected in 1954, is surrounded by 3,000 plaques to memorialize America’s war heroes from the Revolutionary War forward.
“It is unfortunate that the 9th Circuit left the judge no choice but to order the tearing down of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross,” Bruce Bailey, president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, told Fox News.
He added that he’s grateful the judge chose to allow the memorial to remain in place while the court challenge continues.
Sasser wants the memorial to be protected for future generations.
“The most important thing is that over two million veterans have had their voices heard in this case,” he said. “The American Legion and the VFW filed friend-of-the-court briefs. There are a lot of veterans watching this case with all kinds of faiths, and some with no faith at all, who want to preserve this veterans memorial.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read “Mt. Soledad Cross Case Will Have to Wait for Supreme Court Hearing.”
Read “Mt. Soledad Cross Subject of Secret Meetings.”
Read “The Crime of the Cross.”
The Democrat-led Senate — following its approval of the “nuclear option” — approved two of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit.
Early this morning, the Senate voted 51-44 to confirm pro-abortion law professor Nina Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Senate Republicans blocked her nomination last month.
“Democrats have made it clear that they want a court that will help Obama’s administrative agencies get around constitutional and legal limits on their power,” Carrie Severino writes in the National Review. “Today, they are one step closer to that goal.”
A week after Republicans blocked Pillard’s nomination, the Senate approved the so-called nuclear option. The rules change reduces the hurdle to get past a procedural vote. It means a nominee can be confirmed with only 51 votes rather than 60.
On Tuesday, the chamber confirmed Patricia Millet to the D.C. Circuit in a 56-38 vote. Republicans had blocked her nomination in October.
Analysts are concerned the Senate will approve district court judge Robert Wilkins next. Republicans blocked his nomination late last month.
This is a bad idea for several reasons, according to the Judicial Action Group (JAG). Wilkin’s philosophy was shaped by the ACLU. He served with the legal group as an intern, and was also a member. He later was a client and co-counsel with the ACLU.
The rules change has many noting the hypocrisy among Senate Democrats. Between 2003 and 2005, when Democrats were in the minority, they filibustered 10 of President Bush’s judicial nominees. A last-minute “Gang of 14″ agreement prevented Republicans from implementing the “nuclear option.” Back in 2006, when Sen. Harry Reid was the minority leader, he said:
The nuclear option was the most important issue I have worked on in my public life. Its rejection was my proudest moment as minority leader. … As Majority Leader, I intend to run the Senate with respect for the rules and for the minority rights the rules protect.
Views have changed now that the tables have turned.
“Democrats aren’t pulling any punches now that they can move forward with a 51-vote majority,” Severino explains. “I expect Republicans to return the favor when they are in power.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the letter JAG wrote to senators in D.C. opposing the confirmation of Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit.
Learn more about Wilkins.
View the roll call votes for Pillard.
Read “Democrat-Led Senate Changes Filibuster Rules.”
Read “Senate Republicans Block Pro-Abortion, Obama Court Nominee.”
Watch “CitizenLink Report: Understanding the ‘Nuclear Option.’”
A top aide on Capitol Hill was fired this week, apparently for promoting conservative ideals as leader of the Republican Study Committee (RSC).
Paul Teller has served in D.C. for many years, but was fired a few hours after House Speaker John Boehner admonished conservative groups for “using the American people for their own goals.”
“We all rely on staff, but we have to have the full trust of our staff,” Republican Study Chairman Steve Scalise said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.”
The RSC is group of House Republicans that advance a conservative social and economic agenda.
More than 50 conservative leaders wrote a letter expressing disappointment in Boehner’s decision. They also voice their support for Teller:
We are saddened and outraged that an organization that purports to represent conservatives in Congress would dismiss a staff member for advancing conservatism and working with conservatives outside of Congress. Given this action, and the earlier comments by the Speaker, it is clear that the conservative movement has come under attack on Capitol Hill today.
“Paul Teller is one of the true heroes of the conservative movement,” the letter continues. “For over a decade, he has been the guiding light of conservatism on Capitol Hill. No one has done more to advance conservative principles and block the liberal agenda than Paul Teller.”
The letter follows the release of a new budget deal by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan — a Republican from Wisconsin — and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray — a Democrat from Washington. The plan increases spending and would raise revenue through taxes.
The Heritage Foundation said this makes for a “sour deal.”
“Once again, Congress has fallen into its old and destructive habit of trading more spending in one area for more spending in another,” Romina Boccia wrote online. “This is a bad ‘compromise’ that keeps increasing spending, when just a little more effort to eliminate bad government programs and reduce wasteful spending could have saved taxpayers money instead.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read “Conservative Leaders Voice Outrage at Firing of RSC Executive Director.”
A federal lawmaker introduced legislation today that would protect faith-based organizations that support marriage. The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would prohibit the government from denying tax-exempt status to individual and groups for exercising their religious conscience rights.
“Those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage deserve respect and tolerance,” Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who filed the bill. “It is critical that we clarify the law, to ensure that their fundamental civil liberties are not at risk.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. David Vitter – Louisiana; Marco Rubio – Florida; Pat Roberts – Kansas; Orrin Hatch – Utah; Tom Coburn – Oklahoma; Roy Blunt – Missouri; James Inhofe – Oklahoma; Roger Wicker – Mississippi; James Risch – Idaho; Thad Cochran – Mississippi and Lindsey Graham – South Carolina.
Rep. Raul Labrador, a House Republican, introduced companion bill HR 3133. It has 92 sponsors.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the companion bill.
CitizenLink is proud to work with The Family Leader and other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state.
by David Barnett
Now widely reported by non-traditional media, and largely ignored by the major media outlets, a Colorado judge has ruled that a bakery owner must violate his religious beliefs and bake a cake for homosexual aggressors or pay a fine so large it would drive him out of business.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — you will be made to care.
Ironically, even the Colorado Constitution clearly states that “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state.” However, a citizen who actually believes that, must now be punished and relegated to be a 2nd rate citizen who’s rights are not guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.
The right to free speech and freedom of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment has been ruled by an activist judge to be subject to the feelings of a particular people group. Judge Spencer said in the ruling:
“It may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses,” he ruled. “This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are.”
Translation: “Because they might feel bad, this baker and other Christians like him, must forfeit their right to religious liberty.”
So, let me get this straight – in order to get a cake, these two guys sued a baker, and had his first amendment rights stripped away?
Somehow, I don’t think this is about cake…
Let me remind you again: You will be made to care.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about The Family Leader.
Caution: Graphic Material
A pro-life group has developed a collection of model legislation aimed at protecting women and girls from the dangers of the abortion industry.
The Women’s Protection Project, spearheaded by Americans United for Life (AUL), will help set to pace for legislators who want to develop the most up-to-date protections for women. The 15-page guide is “an excellent blueprint for medically appropriate and protective abortion regulations and limitations,” according to AUL.
Lawmakers will have “a unique package of legal tools available for protecting women and girls from the profit-driven abortion industry that consistently ignores the deadly consequences of abortion,” said AUL President Charmaine Yoest.
She added that it includes an enforcement module that provides the legal means to prosecute abortion sellers who harm women and girls.
The Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act would require abortionists to meet the same patient care standards as other facilities performing outpatient surgeries. According to AUL, the Kermit Gosnell case underscores the need for such legislation.
The Philadelphia abortionist delivered live babies in the 3rd trimester and then killed them by “severing their spinal cords with scissors.”
Gosnell, 72, was found guilty this spring of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of babies who were born alive. He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a pregnant woman.
Following the public outcry of Gosnell’s “House of Horrors”, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia enacted laws requiring abortion sellers to meet the same or similar standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
For example, in 2010, the Alabama Department of Health shut down the Beacon Women’s Center in Montgomery after discovering serious violations of state health codes. And since 2009, more than 20 abortion sellers in Texas have been cited for violating state regulations.
“Clearly, Kermit Gosnell is not the aberration that the abortion industry so desperately wants us to believe that he was,” Yoest explained. “Instead, it is clear that today’s legal abortion clinics are all too often the ‘back alleys’ that abortion advocates have repeatedly warned us about.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the Women’s Protection Project.
A Christian radio ministry filed suit against a government mandate requiring it to offer potential abortion-inducing drugs in employee health plans.
Dr. James Dobson founded Family Talk with his son Ryan Dobson in 2009, after retiring from Focus on the Family.
“Our ministry believes in living out the religious convictions we hold to and talk about on the air,” Dobson explained. “As Americans, we should all be free to live according to our faith and to honor God in our work.”
The Obama administration required for-profit businesses to comply with the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate by August of 2012. Nonprofits — many of which are faith-based — have a so-called safe harbor until January.
The suit challenges the challenges the constitutionality of the mandate.
“The government cannot force anyone to act against his or her sincerely held religious beliefs,” Dobson said. “But the mandate ignores that and leaves us with a choice no American should have to make: Comply and abandon your religious freedom, or resist and be fined for your faith.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the complaint in Dobson v. Sebelius.
CitizenLink is proud to work with the Alabama Family Institute and other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state.
by Cameron Smith
In the South, political perspectives are as likely to be shaped by conversation between friends at the corner store as they are by The Washington Post or CNN. Most of us who take the time to vote make the decision based on the information at our disposal, cast our vote at the polls, and move on with our lives. The choice belongs to us, and we know our interests better than anyone else.
Or do we?
The political left seems bewildered by southern conservatives who, in their opinion, “perennially vote against their own best interests.” What the left really means is that the best interests of lower and middle-income voters lie in
Most southern conservatives are willing to support public servants, but they bristle at the concept of political parents.
government programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Progressive liberals view higher enrollment in these government programs as a sign of protection, stability, and security for the common man.
That position is evident in their remarks. AARP CEO A. Barry Rand argued that “every dollar in Social Security benefits paid out generates about $2 of total output for the U.S. economy.” In other words, having more people on Social Security is better for America. President Obama recently defended the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by arguing that forcing people from their “substandard” insurance plans into government exchanges would provide them with “quality comprehensive coverage.” The idea is that taxing or regulating by government fiat promotes equality and betters society. Any negative impact on an individual is merely an inconvenient side effect of the liberals’ great society.
The working-class southern conservative is an unacceptable anomaly for the political left. The southern conservative drives on public roads, may receive a Social Security check, and might even work in a government job. A common explanation among liberals is that many such conservatives are low-information voters without the intellect to understand the “progressive” vision. If they truly grasped the government benefits they utilize, they would drop their conservative ideas and fall in line.
Many liberals build the narrative of two extremes: government controls that improve society or unpredictable free choices that leave many behind. From there, Americans are left only to embrace either a society planned by elites for the benefit of the common good or planned by the elites for their own benefit. The left fancies themselves as the former type of planner and conservatives the latter.
One of government’s most basic functions is supporting liberty and opportunity rather than assigning it. Accepting government’s useful role in our lives is completely consistent with simultaneously rejecting its control over us. Nowhere is this concept better embodied than Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Many government programs were designed to provide support when people needed it most. That design should be protected, but those programs must always be our insurance rather than our aspiration. Who, other than those seeking to control society, really sees anyone’s best interest as dependency on an impersonal government?
American society has succeeded where so many other planned societies have failed because it has provided the common protections people need to thrive without dictating their choices and futures. Rejecting a planned society is not an endorsement of cold anarchy but rather a shift of control from politicians to the people.
Most southern conservatives are willing to support public servants, but they bristle at the concept of political parents. They appreciate a government that can help people get back on their feet, but they reject government that creates perpetual dependency. While they may enjoy the benefits of public infrastructure, they abhor being told what kind of car the government would prefer them to drive. They do want a strong national defense, but they are not willing to be constantly monitored by their government in exchange for a loosely defined “security.”
Progressive liberals may never understand how their societal altruism easily crosses into arrogance when they substitute their vision of the “good” society for the judgment of free people. Southern conservatives will likely continue to confound liberals, but most of us do not suffer from a lack of understanding. We simply refuse to be pawns in someone else’s American dream.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the Alabama Family Institute.