This all started in July 2016 when Chike was handing out pamphlets in a plaza on campus and talking about the Gospel with interested students as they passed. Not long after he began, some college officials approached Chike. They informed him that he was not allowed to distribute materials or talk to other students about his beliefs unless he had reserved a time in a campus “speech zone.”
Georgia Gwinnett College had two speech zones—but don’t be fooled into thinking the college broadly encouraged free expression. Combined, the two spaces made up about 0.0015% of campus. If the entire campus were the size of a football field, these “speech zones”—the only places students could exercise their First Amendment rights—would be the size of a piece of notebook paper. On top of that, they were only open for student use for 10% of the week—just 18 hours on weekdays and closed on the weekends.
Despite having already been silenced once, Chike did what the officials asked, reserved a time, and even received approval from college officials for the literature he intended to distribute. But when he began sharing his faith in the speech zone during the time he had reserved, campus police approached him. The officers took his ID card and told him to stop speaking because someone had complained.
According to these officers, Chike’s speech violated the speech code in the Student Code of Conduct, which allowed the college to stop speech if someone complained. As a result of the college’s policies, Chike was not allowed to speak his message anywhere. After seeing how officials shut down Chike, Joseph decided not to speak on campus at all.
Because public officials silenced these two students on their campus, ADF filed a lawsuit on their behalf.
This was an open-and-shut case involving clear First Amendment violations. But Georgia Gwinnett College doubled down. The college argued that Chike peacefully sharing his religious beliefs should receive no constitutional protection.
The college eventually abandoned this argument and amended its speech policies to allow for speech in any outdoor area of campus—consistent with the U.S. Constitution. Because of this and the fact that Chike graduated, two courts dismissed the case. But that doesn’t change the fact that college officials violated Chike’s right to free speech by silencing him twice and intimidated Joseph into silence.
That’s why ADF asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case.
Today, on March 8, 2021, the Court ruled 8-1 that Georgia Gwinnett College officials shouldn’t be able to violate the constitutional rights of their students and walk away as if nothing happened. This is great news for anyone who values our constitutional freedoms! Our government officials have a duty to protect our rights, and when they violate them, there should be consequences.
And, thankfully, the Supreme Court made that clear.
Where: Lawrenceville, Georgia
Georgia Gwinnett College is located in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Why: The only permit students need to speak freely on campus is the First Amendment.
The First Amendment guarantees a right to free speech, and college officials everywhere—including at Georgia Gwinnett College—should be in the business of upholding and cherishing that right, not silencing it.
And when college officials violate students’ rights, they should face the consequences. When courts don’t step in and hold government officials accountable for trampling someone’s constitutional rights, it enables and encourages the government to violate someone else’s rights in the future.
The Bottom Line
Countless universities have adopted and enforced speech zones and speech codes like those that Georgia Gwinnett College enforced in this case. That is part of the reason that ADF has over 400 victories against public universities across the country. And far too often, once students try to hold university official accountable, they do just what Georgia Gwinnett officials did here: change the policies and ignore how they mistreated students. Thankfully, the Supreme Court put a stop to this.
Today’s college students are tomorrow’s voters, legislators, and judges. If they are being taught that the correct way to deal with speech you disagree with is to shut it down, they will carry that understanding with them once they leave campus. To preserve free speech for us all, we must protect free speech on college campuses so that students learn to respectfully interact with diverse viewpoints. And when our constitutional freedoms are violated, courts should say so, even when officials back down. Otherwise, very little stops them from doing so again.
David Kupelian’s revealing interview with NARAL co-founder Bernard Nathanson, M.D.
During the tumultuous 1960s, after centuries of legal prohibition and moral condemnation of abortion, a handful of dedicated activists launched an unprecedented campaign, whose purpose was two-fold: first, capture the news media and thus public opinion, and then, change the nation’s abortion laws.
Their success was rapid and total – resulting in abortion being legalized in all 50 states, for virtually any reason and throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Since the Supreme Court’s controversial Roe v. Wade decision made 48 years ago today, Jan. 22, 1973, American doctors have performed well over 60 million abortions.
Although polls consistently show a vast majority of Americans oppose of unfettered abortion-on-demand, the movement’s well-crafted, almost magical slogans – appealing to Americans’ deeply rooted inclination toward tolerance, privacy and individual rights – enabled the early abortion marketers to divert attention away from the core issues of exactly what abortion does to both mother and unborn child, focusing instead on a newly created issue: “choice.” No longer was the morality of killing the unborn at issue, but rather, “who decides.”
The original abortion-rights slogans from the early ’70s – they remain virtual articles of faith and rallying cries of the “pro-choice” movement to this day – were “Freedom of choice” and “Women must have control over their own bodies.”
“I remember laughing when we made those slogans up,” recalled Bernard Nathanson, M.D., co-founder of pro-abortion vanguard group NARAL, during a lengthy interview I did with him in 1990. Reminiscing about the early days of the abortion-rights movement in the late ’60s and early ’70s, he confided, “We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion. They were very cynical slogans then, just as all of these slogans today are very, very cynical.”
Besides having served as chairman of the executive committee of NARAL – originally, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, and later renamed the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League – Nathanson was one of the principal architects and strategists of the abortion movement in the United States. He told me an astonishing story.
Changing the law on abortion
“In 1968 I met Lawrence Lader,” Nathanson explained. “Lader had just finished a book called ‘Abortion,’ and in it had made the audacious demand that abortion should be legalized throughout the country. I had just finished a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and was impressed with the number of women who were coming into our clinics, wards and hospitals suffering from illegal, infected, botched abortions.
“Lader and I were perfect for each other. We sat down and plotted out the organization now known as NARAL. With Betty Friedan, we set up this organization and began working on the strategy.”
“Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.
“Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent since legalization.”
NARAL’s brilliantly deceitful marketing campaign, bolstered by fraudulent “research,” was uncannily successful. In New York, the law outlawing abortion had been on the books for 140 years. “In two years of work, we at NARAL struck that law down,” said Nathanson. “We lobbied the legislature, we captured the media, we spent money on public relations … Our first year’s budget was $7,500. Of that, $5,000 was allotted to a public relations firm to persuade the media of the correctness of our position. That was in 1969.”
New York immediately became the abortion capital for the eastern half of the United States.
“We were inundated with applicants for abortion,” Nathanson told me. “To that end, I set up a clinic, the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health (CRASH), which operated in the east side of Manhattan. It had 10 operating rooms, 35 doctors, 85 nurses. It operated seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to midnight. We did 120 abortions every day in that clinic. At the end of the two years that I was the director, we had done 60,000 abortions. I myself, with my own hands, have done 5,000 abortions. I have supervised another 10,000 that residents have done under my direction. So I have 75,000 abortions in my life. Those are pretty good credentials to speak on the subject of abortion.”
At the time, CRASH was the largest abortion clinic in America.
‘A window into the womb’
After two years, Nathanson resigned from CRASH and became chief of the obstetrical service at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City, a major teaching center for Columbia University Medical School. At that time, in 1973, a raft of new technologies and apparatuses had just become available, all designed to afford physicians a “window into the womb.”
Nathanson recounted for me the dazzling array of cutting-edge technologies coming online back then:
Real-time ultrasound: an instrument which beams high-frequency sound into the mother’s abdomen. The echoes that come back are collected by a computer and assembled into a moving picture;
Electronic fetal heart monitoring: We clamp an apparatus on the mother’s abdomen, and then continuously record the fetal heart rate, instant by instant;
Fetoscopy: an optical instrument put directly into the womb. We could watch that baby, actually eyeball it.
Cordocentesis: taking a needle, sticking it into the pregnant mother’s uterus and, under ultrasound, locating the umbilical arteries and actually putting a needle into the cord, taking the baby’s blood, diagnosing its illnesses, and treating it by giving it medicine. Today, surgery is actually performed on the unborn!
“Anyway,” Nathanson told me, “as a result of all of this technology – looking at this baby, examining it, investigating it, watching its metabolic functions, watching it urinate, swallow, move and sleep, watching it dream, which you could see by its rapid eye movements via ultrasound, treating it, operating on it – I finally came to the conviction that this was my patient. This was a person! I was a physician, pledged to save my patients’ lives, not to destroy them. So I changed my mind on the subject of abortion.”
“There was nothing religious about it,” he hastened to add. “This was purely a change of mind as a result of this fantastic technology, and the new insights and perceptions I had into the nature of the unborn child.”
Nathanson expressed some doubts about abortion then, in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. “I was immediately summoned to a kangaroo court and was discharged from the pro-abortion movement, something I do not lose sleep over.”
In 1985, intrigued by the question of what really happens during an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, Nathanson decided to put an ultrasound machine on the abdomen of a woman undergoing an abortion and to videotape what happens.
“We got a film that was astonishing, shocking, frightening,” he told me.
It was made into a film called “The Silent Scream.” It was shattering, and the pro-abortion people panicked. Because at this point, we had moved the abortion debate away from moralizing, sermonizing, sloganeering and pamphleteering into a high-tech argument. For the first time, the pro-life movement now had all of the technology and all of the smarts, and the pro-abortion people were on the defensive.
Nathanson’s film provoked a massive campaign of defamation on the part of the pro-abortion movement, including charges that he had doctored the film. He hadn’t. “I was accused of everything from pederasty to nepotism. But the American public saw the film.”
In 1987, Nathanson released another, even stronger film called “Eclipse of Reason,” introduced by Charlton Heston. “‘The Silent Scream’ dealt with a child who was aborted at 12 weeks,” said Nathanson. “But there are 400 abortions every day in this country that are done after the third month of pregnancy. Contrary to popular misconception, Roe v. Wade makes abortion permissible up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy. I wanted to dramatize what happens in one of these late abortions, after the third month.” He explained:
They took a fetuscope, which is a long optical instrument with a lens at one end and a strong light at the other. They inserted the fetuscope into the womb of a woman at 19-1/2 weeks, and a camera was clamped on the eyepiece and then the abortionist went to work.
This procedure was known as a D&E (dilation and evacuation). It involves dilating the cervix, rupturing the bag of waters, taking a large crushing instrument and introducing it way high up into the uterus, grabbing a piece of the baby, pulling it off the baby, and just repeating this procedure until the baby has been pulled apart piece by piece.
Then the pieces are assembled on a table, put together like a jigsaw puzzle, so the abortionist can be sure that the entire baby has been removed. We photographed all this through the fetuscope. This is a shattering film.
Thus did Bernard Nathanson, once a founder and top strategist of the pro-abortion movement, come to be staunchly committed to the cause of ending legalized abortion in America.
Nathanson is by no means the only abortionist to switch sides in the abortion war. In recent decades, hundreds of abortion providers have left their profession. On its website, NARAL has bemoaned “the dwindling number of doctors willing or trained to perform abortions.”
Putting the genie back in the bottle
Ironically, Bernard Nathanson, perhaps the closest thing to being “the man who started it all” for the “pro-choice movement” – the Edward Teller of abortion – spent the rest of his life trying to put the abortion genie back in the bottle. Like Norma McCorvey – who as the barefoot-and-pregnant “Jane Roe” was the pro-abortion plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s momentous and fateful Roe v. Wade decision – Nathanson also became utterly dedicated to putting an end to what both later came to see as a national tragedy on a par with the Nazi Holocaust.
“Let me share with you my own personal perception of the abortion tragedy,” Nathanson told one California audience:
I’m going to set it against my Jewish heritage and the Holocaust in Europe. The abortion holocaust is beyond the ordinary discourse of morality and rational condemnation. It is not enough to pronounce it absolutely evil. Absolute evil used to characterize this abortion tragedy is an inept formulation.
The abortion tragedy is a new event, severed from connections with traditional presuppositions of history, psychology, politics and morality. It extends beyond the deliberations of reason, beyond the discernments of moral judgment, beyond meaning itself. It trivializes itself to call itself merely a holocaust or a tragedy.
It is, in the words of Arthur Cohen, perhaps the world’s leading scholar on the European Holocaust, a mysterium tremendum, an utter mystery to the rational mind – a mystery that carries with it not only the aspect of vastness, but the resonance of terror, something so unutterably diabolic as to be literally unknowable to us.
“This is an evil torn free of its moorings in reason and causality, an ordinary secular corruption raised to unimaginable powers of magnification and limitless extremity. Nelly Sachs, a poetess who wrote poems on the Holocaust in Europe and who won the Nobel Prize in 1966, wrote a poem called ‘Chorus of the Unborn.’ Permit me to give you a few lines. She said:
We, the unborn, the yearning has begun to plague us as shores of blood broaden to receive us. Like dew, we sink into love but still the shadows of time lie like questions over our secret.
‘The Hand of God’
Six years after his interview with me, Dr. Bernard Nathanson – who had long described himself as a “Jewish atheist,” including during the years when he first turned away from abortion – converted to Roman Catholicism and was baptized by John Cardinal O’Connor in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996. That same year, he published his autobiography, “The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by The Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind.” Toward the end of this insightful and shatteringly honest narrative, Nathanson describes one particular experience – his presence during a 1989 Operation Rescue demonstration against Planned Parenthood in New York City – that directly precipitated his spiritual conversion to Christianity:
Now, I had not been immune to the religious fervor of the pro-life movement. I had been aware in the early and mid-eighties that a great many of the Catholics and Protestants in the ranks had prayed for me, were praying for me, and I was not unmoved as time wore on. But it was not until I saw the spirit put to the test on those bitterly cold demonstration mornings, with pro-choicers hurling the most fulsome epithets at them, the police surrounding them, the media openly unsympathetic to their cause, the federal judiciary fining and jailing them, and municipal officials threatening them – all through it they sat smiling, quietly praying, singing, confident and righteous of their cause and ineradicably persuaded of their ultimate triumph – that I began seriously to question what indescribable Force generated them to this activity. Why, too, was I there? What had led me to this time and place? Was it the same Force that allowed them to sit serene and unafraid at the epicenter of legal, physical, ethical, and moral chaos?
And for the first time in my entire adult life, I began to entertain seriously the notion of God – a god who problematically had led me through the proverbial circles of hell, only to show me the way to redemption and mercy through His grace. The thought violated every eighteenth-century certainty I had cherished; it instantly converted my past into a vile bog of sin and evil; it indicted me and convicted me of high crimes against those who had loved me, and against those whom I did not even know; and simultaneously – miraculously – it held out a shimmering sliver of Hope to me, in the growing belief that Someone had died for my sins and my evil two millennia ago.
Bernard Nathanson passed away on Feb. 21, 2011, at the age of 84.
The Supreme Court today sided with churches and synagogues in both Colorado and New Jersey over heavy-handed coronavirus policies that severely restricted how many could worship:
NBC NEWS – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of houses of worship in Colorado and New Jersey that opposed capacity limits on worship services.
In the Colorado case, the court ruled 6-3 to send the lawsuit, brought by the High Plains Harvest Church, back to the lower courts, where the church had lost.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, saying the case was moot because Colorado had already lifted all the limits. “There is no reason to think Colorado will reverse course — and so no reason to think Harvest Church will again face capacity limits,” the dissent said.
The 150-seat church filed suit in May, arguing Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ order capping attendance to 50 people was too restrictive. Lower court judges had refused to sign off on an order that would have made the church exempt from those restrictions.
The high court said the lower court judges should review the case in light of its ruling in a similar case involving New York last month.
In a second ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling limiting New Jersey’s application of Covid-19 restrictions that apply to religious settings, granting an injunction sought by two religious institutions — a church in North Caldwell and a synagogue in Lakewood.
The church and synagogue asked for an injunction allowing them “to host indoor, in-person religious worship for their respective congregations on the same terms and conditions allowed for comparable secular activities; that is, either the 100% of capacity afforded ‘essential’ non-retail businesses or, alternatively, the 50% of capacity allowed for ‘essential’ retail businesses, with the same health and safety protocols and exemptions applicable to comparable secular activities.”
With Christmas services coming up soon, this ruling from the Supreme Court couldn’t be more well-timed.
According to National Review, Colorado has already lifted their occupancy restrictions on religious institutions in response to the ruling.
During a speech before the Federalist Society on Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito stated that “in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.” And is viewed by some as “not a cherished freedom, it’s often just an excuse for bigotry and it can’t be tolerated, even when there is no evidence that anybody has been harmed.”
Alito began by cautioning that, aside from specific references to any Supreme Court cases, he isn’t commenting on the legality of coronavirus restrictions and isn’t making any statements as to whether the restrictions constitute good policy.
He stated that coronavirus has “highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck.”
Alito said that cases involving coronavirus restrictions have “pointed up emerging trends in the assessment of individual rights. This is especially evident with respect to religious liberty. It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”
Alito contrasted the bipartisan passage of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act with the backlash faced by states that have attempted to pass or passed similar legislation in recent years.
He then turned to “the protracted campaign against the Little Sisters of the Poor,” the Ralph’s pharmacy case, and the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Alito remarked, “You can easily see the point, for many today, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom, it’s often just an excuse for bigotry and it can’t be tolerated, even when there is no evidence that anybody has been harmed. And the cases I just mentioned illustrate the point. As far as I’m aware, not one employee of the Little Sisters has come forward and demanded contraceptives under the Little Sisters’ plan. There was no risk that Ralph’s referral practice would have deprived any woman of the drug she sought and no reason to think that Jack Phillips’ stand would deprive any same-sex couple of a wedding cake. The couple that came to his shop was given a free cake by another bakery, and celebrity chefs have jumped to the couple’s defense.”
Alito then noted cases where coronavirus restrictions that “blatantly discriminated against houses of worship” in California and Nevada were upheld by the Supreme Court. Alito stated that in both cases, the rationale was that the court should defer to the governors. Alito continued that this deference meant that Nevada treated “casinos more favorably than houses of worship.”
He added, “If what I have said so far does not convince you that religious liberty is in danger of becoming a second-class right, consider a case that came shortly after the Nevada case.” Alito then discussed U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang’s ruling suspending the FDA’s requirement that women who wish to obtain an abortion pill must pick up the drug at a clinic. Alito said that Chuang’s rationale that enforcing the rule would interfere with abortion rights because some women might not obtain the pill due to fear of contracting coronavirus if they leave their homes. He noted that at the time of the decision, Maryland’s governor had opened many places of business, and “apparently concluded that Marylanders could safely engage in all sorts of activities outside the home. … If deference was appropriate in the California and Nevada cases, then surely, we should have deferred to the federal Food and Drug Administration on an issue of drug safety. But no, in this instance, the right in question was the abortion right, not the right to religious liberty, and the abortion right prevailed.”
WINDSOR TERRACE — The Diocese of Brooklyn is taking its fight against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s church attendance restrictions to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The diocese has filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court, asking that the highest court in the land agree to hear the case on First Amendment grounds. The diocese charged that imposing strict attendance — in some cases, as little as 10 people at the Mass — violates religious freedom.
The emergency petition was submitted on Nov. 9 by Randy Mastro, the attorney representing the diocese, to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
“We remain committed to reopening our churches, safely, and to vindicate our First Amendment rights. That is why we have petitioned the Supreme Court,” the diocese said in a statement.
“We are confident we will prevail for the good of our churches and those of faith who want to operate safely yet continue to suffer under the Governor’s express restrictions on ‘houses of worship,’ ” the statement continues.
The diocese petitioned the Supreme Court following a legal setback in its lawsuit against the governor over the restrictions he imposed on Oct. 6 on houses of worship in New York neighborhoods with higher than average COVID-19 positivity rates.
The diocese filed suit against Cuomo, in his official capacity as governor, on Oct. 8. On Nov. 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the diocese’s appeal of earlier decisions by judges in Brooklyn Federal Court, who sided with Cuomo. The decision came a few days after the diocese presented its case at a hearing at the Court of Appeals on Nov. 3.
“The court fully understands the impact the executive order has had on houses of worship throughout the affected zones. Nevertheless, the Appellants cannot clear the high bar necessary to obtain an injunction pending appeal,” the decision read.
But the Court of Appeals’ decision rejecting the diocese was not unanimous. Two of the judges, Raymond J. Lohier and Jed S. Rakoff, on the three-judge panel, voted against the diocese. A third judge, Michael H. Park, dissented. The fact that the decision was not unanimous is giving officials a sense of hope in the case.
In the petition to Justice Breyer, Mastro and his co-counselors contend that the case deserves to be heard in the Supreme Court.
“The governor’s latest restrictions cap church attendance at 10 and 25 people in so-called ‘red’ and ‘orange’ zones, respectively, regardless of the capacity of the ‘house of worship,’ and thereby effectively shutter all of the diocese’s churches in those zones. His Executive Order, moreover, expressly singles out ‘houses of worship’ by that name for adverse treatment relative to secular businesses, and does so in a way that is not narrowly tailored to any compelling government interest, in direct violation of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause,” the petition reads in part.
In his Oct. 6 executive order, Cuomo created three zones — red, orange, and yellow. In red zones, churches and other religious institutions are limited to 25 percent capacity, with no more than 10 people. In orange zones, attendance at religious services is restricted to a maximum of 33 percent capacity with no more than 25 people. In yellow zones, 50 percent capacity is permitted.
Initially, there were more than two dozen churches in Brooklyn and Queens in the red and orange zones. As COVID-19 positivity rates decreased, Cuomo eased some of the restrictions.
Justice Alito criticizes COVID-19 restrictions and ‘rule by experts’
Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito criticizes the left in speech given at the Federalist Society. Religious liberty and COVID-19 restrictions were some of the issues the Alito touched on.
We have just come through one of the most divisive presidential election seasons I have seen. There was possibly a more contentious election presidential election in 1864.
President Trump and President Lincoln had fallen into the same horrendous situation – becoming victims to the dramatic refusal of American Democrats to accept their Republican Presidents. (1) Both found a way to communicate directly with the people. Both found innovative ways to address current situations. Both served in the White House during very contentious and volatile times: Lincoln had the War Between the States; and Trump has the current riots, looting, and property destruction by well supplied organized groups. (2)
While Trump has waged a war of words with the media and would undoubtedly like to silence his fiercest critics, Lincoln actually did. Faced with an armed Rebellion by eleven Southern states, he desperately needed to keep in the Union the four border states where slavery was legal [Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky and Delaware]. The first federal troops who marched through Baltimore on their way to Washington were attacked by rioters who supported Confederate independence. Lincoln reacted by taking bold steps including empowering military commanders to arrest and imprison civilians who were advocating the Rebel cause and suspending habeas corpus [the right to have a judge determine whether an arrest and detention is lawful]. The press was not exempt. (3)
It takes hard work by many people working together to make changes in our society, whether it be by election, protest or riots. It also takes people individually and together in groups to Defuse or not Feed Into the narrative
“A New York lawyer went duck hunting in the mountains of East Tennessee recently. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of the fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.
“I shot this duck, and it fell in this field, and now I’m going in to retrieve it.”
“This is my property,” the old farmer replied. “And you are not coming over here.”
“I’m one of the best trial lawyers in New York,” said the lawyer. “And if you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything you own.”
“Apparently, you don’t know how we do things in these parts of Tennessee,” said the farmer. “We settle disagreements like this with the Tennessee three-kick rule.”
“And just what is the Tennessee three-kick rule?”
“Well, first I kick you three times, and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up.”
The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old-timer. He agreed to the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city slicker. His first kick planted the steel toe of his heavy work boot in the lawyer’s shin. The man fell to his knees. His second kick nearly put a hole in the man’s stomach. The old man then quickly delivered the third kick to the side of the attorney’s head. Slowly, the disoriented lawyer managed to get to his feet.
“OK, you old codger,” he said, “Now it’s my turn.”
The farmer smiled and said “Naw, I give up. You can have the duck”
I certainly don’t condone violence to settle a dispute, but the above example shows how the farmer chose to end the conflict by giving up and walking away.” (4)
For years we have drifted apart from knowing our neighbors. At one we knew our neighbors and their families, today many would not know them if they passed by their neighbor in the store.
The damage already done to our communities is not just what you see by driving by the burnt out buildings, boarded up stores, and empty lots where food stores and jobs once stood.
We may not know for years how many heart attacks, still births, psychotic breaks, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, depressed people and suicides could have ether been prevented or help given had the riots not taken place.
We must rebuild our neighborhoods and knit them more strongly together than they have been. The community will need to work hard together to repair the damage done. We will have to become Community Strong (5)
(CNSNews.com) – Justice Samuel Alito said today–during oral arguments in a case that pits the City of Philadelphia against the Catholic Church over the question of whether the city can force Catholic Social Services to give custody of foster children to same-sex couples–that “the City can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage.”
In 2018, Philadelphia terminated the ability of Catholic Social Services to place foster children with families because the agency—following the teachings of the Catholic faith—will not place foster children with same-sex couples.
In fact, no same-sex couple had ever come to Catholic Social Services seeking to foster a child.
Further, the agency stipulated that if a same-sex couple did come to it seeking to foster a child, it would simply have referred the couple to one of the 28 other agencies in Philadelphia that do turn over foster children to same-sex couples.
Catholic Social Services argued in the Supreme Court that Philadelphia was discriminating against it because of its Catholic faith and, thus, was violating its First Amendment rights.
“If we are honest about what’s really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents,” Alito told the lawyer arguing the case for the city.
“It’s the fact that the city can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage,” said Alito.
“Isn’t that the case?” he said.
Neil Katyal, the attorney representing Philadelphis, denied that was the case.
“Absolutely not, Justice Alito,” Katyal said.
According to briefs filed with the court in the case (Fulton vs. City of Philadelphia), the Catholic Church in Philadelphia has been caring for abandoned and orphaned children since the 1790s.
Here is a transcript of the part of today’s oral argument in the Supreme Court where Justice Alito said that the City of Philadelphia “can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage:
Chief Justice John Roberts: “Justice Alito”
Justice Samuel Alito: “In your brief in opposition, when you were trying to persuade us not to take this case, you represented that the City had adopted an Exemption/Waiver Committee ‘to ensure that in the future any requests for a religious exemption of the sort at issue here would be directed to the waiver exemption committee and handled through the procedures that it establishes.’ Page 15.
Was that accurate?:
Neil Katyal: “That is accurate, Your Honor, that we cite at page 15 that the City had established, after the events that gave rise to this case, in its Law Department, something to “address waiver and exemption requests.” That’s a general committee. That’s not even about foster care agencies, not even about religion. It’s a general committee for everything that looked to–“
Alito: “Well, the plain meaning of that statement is that if CSS or another religious organization came to the City and said that we do not –it is contrary to our religious beliefs to certify a same-sex couple, there would be consideration of an exemption.”
Katyal: Your –Your Honor -
Alito: “Is that true?”
Katyal: “–the City’s policy -the City’s view on this has been clear from the start. They can’t make exceptions on the basis of the Fair Practices Ordinance at all when it comes to things like this at the child –excuse me –at the parent pool stage.
“There are some exceptions that can be done under 3.21 at the matching stage, when the child is matched with an agency, but that’s really just about DHS making an individual referral to a particular agency at that limited, particularized stage—”
Alito: “Well, if that’s -“
Katyal: “–in its -”
Alito: “–if that’s the City’s policy, then the statement that I just read seems to me to be quite misleading, but I’ll move on from that.
“Look, if we –if we are honest about what’s really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents.
“It’s the fact that the City can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage.
“Isn’t that the case?”
Katyal: “Absolutely not, Justice Alito. The text, of course, of all of this doesn’t say anything like that.
“As the district court and third circuit found going evidence by evidence, piece by piece, they rejected that idea.
“And I think, Justice Alito, the most telling fact about that is right now the City is giving that very entity which you’re saying that –you know, which you’re saying that we can’t stand and the like, 26 million dollars a year for foster care.
“I think the annual Supreme Court budget –that’s one-third of the annual Supreme Court’s budget. We’re doing that every single year for this entity. So -”
Alito: “Well, as far as the record reflects, no –what Catholic Social Services has done has not denied any same-sex couple the opportunity to be foster parents.
“And because they would refer such a couple, if one were to come to them, to one of the many agencies that is willing to –to do what is necessary for them, there’s no realistic chance that that is ever going to happen.
“But the City, nevertheless, is willing to cut them off from participating -participation in this program, even if what that means is that there will be foster children in Philadelphia –there will be children in Philadelphia who will be denied the opportunity to have foster parents.
“That’s what the record shows, isn’t it?”
Katyal: “Justice Alito, three things. One, we are very happy to talk about the record because we don’t think it supports that at all. Indeed, it supports that CSS told us that, if this happens, this is precisely what they would do. It did happen with respect to Bethany.
“Second, that was the exact colloquy you and I had many years ago in NASA versus Nelson when the petitioner said, hey, there’s no evidence of drug abuse, you’ve got to wait for it. And your unanimous opinion for the Court said, no, the government can –it doesn’t need to wait in order to act.
“And that’s particularly so –and this is my third point here –because, here, the government has identified the most compelling of interests in protecting its own wards of the state. It needs to maximize the number of parents in the pool and avoid stigma to parents and to youth because the –”
“It ends the requirement to get state permission before getting married. The state will now record signed contracts between consenting individuals. In effect, it removes the state from the approval process and relegates it to a mere record-keeper,” he said.
He pointed out the law will maintain a few state requirements governing marriage.
“Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 still must obtain parental permission before applying to record a marriage, the state will not record a marriage if either party was already married, and the parties cannot be related by blood or adoption as already stipulated in state law.”
But civil or religious ceremonies will no longer be required.
Maharrey said the law is “a step toward returning to the traditional Western custom in which the state had little to no involvement in marriage, even though it was a legal contract as well as a religious institution.”
“Marriage in medieval Europe technically fell under the legal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, with priests officiating weddings at the door of the community church,” he noted. “However, it was ultimately a private arrangement that did not require a third party in order to be considered legitimate.”
He noted the state’s role in defining and regulating marriage “has become a contentious issue and places a burden on government officials torn between the legal requirements of their jobs and their personal religious convictions.”
“By limiting the state’s role in marriage, the legislation will allow Alabamans to structure their personal relationships as they see fit without interference or approval from the government.”
He said that that removing “state meddling in marriage will render void the edicts of federal judges that have overturned state laws defining the institution.”
“The founding generation never envisioned unelected judges issuing ex-cathedra pronouncements regarding the definition of social institutions, and the Constitution delegates the federal judiciary no authority to do so.”
Man has been seeking to remove mention of Almighty for decades
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned back – again – a demand from an atheist who insists on removing any reference to “God” from the discourse of government.
There are references to a deity on money – the motto “In God We Trust” – and in the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as in other scenarios.
Michael Newdow, who has lost other, similar, cases at the high court already, was unsuccessful again when on Monday the justices declined to take up Newdow’s latest fight.
He was targeting the inscription “In God We Trust” on coins and currency.
The Washington Examiner reported Newdow, “an activist who filed the case on behalf of a group of atheists,” claimed that the instructions from Congress to the Treasury Department to include the words violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
That prevents Congress from setting up a national church.
The words first appeared on coins in 1864 and in 1955 Congress decided to have it on all coins and currency.
Newdow’s claim had stated that the government was turning atheists into “political outsiders” with the decision.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had similarly rejected his claim last year.
Besides “In God We Trust,” and “Under God” in the Pledge, he’s also demanded that high government officials such as Supreme Court justices and presidents be censored from stating “So help me God,” when they affirm an oath to uphold the Constitution.
WND has reported on his fight against references to “God” for nearly two decades.
When the 6th Circuit threw out his case last year, it ruled the motto doesn’t burden atheists’ free exercise, nor does it impact their free pssech.
“The court ruled that the national motto is a symbol of common national identity and did not discriminate against or suppress plaintiffs’ beliefs,” the American Center for Law and Justice said at that time.
The court had said, “Because plaintiffs do not allege that the motto is attributed to them and because the Supreme Court has reasoned that currency is not ‘readily associated with’ its temporary carrier, the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs’ Free Speech claim.”
Newdow’s claim was that “the mere presence of the national motto on currency violates their Free Speech and Free Exercise Clause rights. The atheists asserted that carrying currency equated to governmental compulsion to speak in support of the national motto and to bear a ‘religiously offensive’ message, in violation of the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”
“Every court that has considered any challenge to the national motto has rejected it. When we filed our amicus brief, we let the court know we were representing over 315,000 supporters who signed on to our Committee to Defend ‘In God We Trust’ – Our National Motto – on Our Currency,” ACLJ said.