Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: First Amendment

High-school Football Coach Joe Kennedy Gets His Job Back

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 16, 2023:  

Joe Kennedy is now back as assistant varsity football coach for the Bremerton (Washington) High School Knights. After eight long years of litigation culminating in the Supreme Court ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District last summer, the school will pay Kennedy $5,304 to coach the team, and First Liberty Institute $1,775,000 in legal fees for defending him.

When asked how he felt about being back on the field after being fired for praying on the field after games had ended, he said “Overall, it’s been great. A lot of people have been praying for this for a long time, and I think America is ready to just enjoy the religious freedom once again.”

Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, agreed:

I am glad to hear that Joe Kennedy has finally been reinstated as a football coach at the Washington state high school he was dismissed from for praying in the field after games in 2015….


This is great news! I hope that Coach Kennedy will continue to kneel in prayer — on and off the field — and that his win will protect and encourage others in the same situation.

Missing from nearly all of the muted media coverage was the enormous victory his win signals: the obliteration of the myth of the “wall of separation of church and state” that those opposed to Christianity have erected since the founding of the Republic. That “wall” has been used to justify all manner of secular interference and intimidation over the right, guaranteed in the First Amendment, for citizens to enjoy worshiping without governmental interference.

As Supreme Court Justice Neal Gorsuch wrote for the 6-3 majority:

Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s.… The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligions views alike….


Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a personal religious observance, based on a mistaken view that it has a duty to suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech.


The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination. Mr. Kennedy is entitled to summary judgment on his religious exercise and free speech claims.

Tim Greenwood of Tim Greenwood Ministries provided one of the clearest definitions of the Founders’ original intent on the matter more than 10 years ago:

The “wall” was understood as one-directional; its purpose was to protect the church from the state.


The world was not to corrupt the church; yet the church was free to teach the people Biblical values [without interference].

Instead, anti-Christian forces have for decades deliberately misread the Founders’ intentions, based on a private letter from Jefferson written 10 years after the Constitution was ratified, in order to justify its war against Christianity. Gorsuch made that point clear in his majority opinion:

The Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in a personal religious observance from government reprisal; the Constitution neither mandates nor permits the government to suppress such religious expression.


When attorneys for the school tried to make the case for that so-called “wall of separation” which it said it was defending by firing Kennedy, Gorsuch clarified the issue:


In truth, there is no conflict between the constitutional commands before us. There is only the “mere shadow” of a conflict, a false choice premised on a misconstruction of the Establishment Clause.


And in no world may a government entity’s concerns about phantom constitutional violations justify actual violations of an individual’s First Amendment rights…


Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic — whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head. Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment…


[T]he only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech.


The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.


Mr. Kennedy is entitled to summary judgment on his First Amendment claims. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is Reversed.

This is the unheralded victory most of the media covering the matter have ignored: There is no “wall of separation of church and state” that keeps religious sentiments from influencing our secular and steadily darkening world.

NYC Mayor’s Faith Comments Elicit Protests From Atheists

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 6, 2023:  

When New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a self-professed Christian, expressed his faith last week, his remarks not only elicited praise from believers but criticism from those who don’t or refuse to believe.

Adams said:

Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies.


I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official. When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God.


When I put policies in place, I put them in with a God-like approach to them. That’s who I am. And I was that when I was that third-grader, and I’m going to be that when I leave government.


I am still a child of God and will always be a child of God and I won’t apologize about being a child of God. It is not going to happen.

Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, responded, “The mayor is exactly right,” adding that, “Liberals have taken that establishment clause [in the First Amendment] and perverted into something our forefathers never intended. I believe much of the chaos we’re seeing in our country today results from trying to be good without God, and such a thing is totally impossible.”

Arielle Del Turco of the Family Research Council said that Adams’ comments do “not mean that the state must forcibly remove all signs of religion from schools or other public institutions.”

And yet that is exactly what has been happening ever since the Supreme Court ruled decades ago to remove prayer from public schools. Its decision was based on that dreadful and insidious “reading” about the “wall of separation between the church and state” that the Constitution allegedly erected.

Rob Boston, who edits Church & State magazine for Americans United for Separation of Church & State, offered to instruct the mayor in his misreading of the founders’ intentions: “Our offer to the mayor would be to meet with us, and we’d be happy to explain to him how separation of church and state protects his right to believe and the right of every one of his constituents and how we really can’t have a free nation without that principle.”

Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), a chapter of the ACLU, weighed in on the side of the myth about the wall of separation that has guided the group’s policies from the beginning:

We are a nation and a city of many faiths, and no faith. In order for any government to truly represent us, it must not favor any belief over another, including non-belief.


It is odd that Mayor Adams would need a refresher on the First Amendment. After all, he has sworn to uphold the Constitution more than once….


On matters of faith, the Mayor is entitled to his own beliefs. On the Constitution, he must uphold his oath.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) put in its own two cents:

Remarks you made at the New York Library interfaith prayer breakfast this morning [February 28] … evince a shocking hostility to a core principle of our secular republic: secular government….


FFRF works to defend the constitutional separation between state and church, and to educate about nontheism….


Mayor Adams, your remarks are disgraceful. Not only is New York City not a place where the mayor of New York must be a “servant of God,” but as mayor you are in fact a servant of the people. While as a private individual you are free to worship as you like, you are not free to use your secular office or its podium to promote those beliefs, while deriding your constitutional duties to keep religion out of government.


You took an oath of office “to support and defend” the U.S. Constitution, which is an entirely godless secular document. Your duty as an elected official is not to be “a servant of God” but to the Constitution and the people who it represents….


Attempting to impose your personal religious beliefs through your elected position is an insult to all New Yorkers, as well as to the core American value of separation of state and church.

The group couldn’t resist the opportunity to promote its own religious agenda:

The members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation believe that nothing fails like prayer. Prayer is the ultimate cop-out, the ultimate admission that the invoker is giving up, by transferring personal responsibility to an imaginary being.

And then the group demanded that Adams retract his comments:

We are asking you to publicly rescind your ill-advised remarks that the mayor of New York is officially a “servant of God,” which seemingly suggests a belief that you are anointed by God. After all, you have previously said that “God” told you to become mayor.


In the face of an active campaign by Christian nationalists to declare the United States a Christian nation, and undo many First Amendment protections, we consider these remarks insensitive and reckless.

In his own defense, Adams responded to reporters who questioned him about the separation issue:

I would not be the mayor of the City of New York if it wasn’t that God saw something in me. I am the most imperfect, most perfectly imperfect, human being.


This is a country where on our dollar bills we say, “In God We Trust.” The last thing I said when I was sworn in as the mayor, I said, “So help me God!” Every event that I start, I start with prayer….


I am so happy that there are a small number of people who are saying that “Eric’s belief in God, he should not be talking about it as the mayor.” No. As the major, I should be talking about my belief in God.

In reporting on the issue, Adam Carrington of the Washington Examiner made a good start: “The First Amendment does forbid Congress from making any law regarding an establishment of religion. It does not, however, require a total exclusion of religion from the public square, as [these groups] seem to believe these days.”

Professor Daniel Dreisbach at American University clarified the issue for all time back in 2006 in his “The Mythical ‘Wall of Separation’” published by the Heritage Foundation. Wrote Dreisbach:

This figure of speech … has become the sacred icon of a strict separation dogma that champions a secular polity in which religious influences are systematically and coercively stripped from public life….


The First Amendment … [is] entirely a check on civil government, specifically Congress….


The religious provisions were added to the Constitution [by the Bill of Rights] to protect religion and religious institutions from [the] corrupting interference by the federal government and not to protect the civil state from the influence of … religion.


The [myth of the] wall, however, is [being used as] a bilateral barrier that unavoidably restricts religion’s ability to influence public life; thus it necessarily and dangerously exceeds the limitations imposed by the First Amendment….


All too often the wall of separation is used to silence the church and to limit its reach into public life.… It is rarely used to restrain the civil state’s meddling in, and restraint of, the church.

That’s the core issue. The secular state cannot have its citizens bowing allegiance to anything other than, or higher than, the state itself. Any remarks by anyone, especially someone with the influence (and the character) of the mayor of the nation’s largest city to speak the truth about the matter, must be dampened, diluted, and ultimately erased from the public conversation.

Good for the mayor for not bowing the knee to the secular myth of “the separation of church and state” that is being used to extinguish religion from the public square.

Rookie Cop Pressured to Resign Over Religious Beliefs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 17, 2023:  

Everything was going swimmingly for rookie police officer Jacob Kersey during the first seven months working for the Port Wentworth Police Department in Georgia. At age 19, Kersey had been blogging about his faith in Christ for seven years.

On January 2 his blog about the institution of marriage caused someone from the LBGT community to complain. Here is Kersey’s offensive statement:

God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church. That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage.

That single complaint upended Kersey’s budding career and has set in motion the potential for legal action against the department by First Liberty, a public interest law firm specializing in such cases.

Kersey was asked to take down the “offensive” post. He refused. The situation escalated. Kersey wouldn’t back down. The department sent him a “a letter of notification” that its investigation into the complaint revealed nothing that violated any department regulation. But it warned:

However, the posts, podcasts, and so forth found and considered in our investigation [are] likely offensive to protected classes and could raise reasonable concerns regarding your objectivity in performance of your duties when a member … of the LGBTQ+ community is involved.

And then came the threat:

If any post on your social media platforms, or any other statement or action, renders you unable to perform, and to be seen as [un]able to perform your job in a fair and equitable manner, you could be terminated….


Officer Kersey, the intent of this notification and warning is to educate you on what will and will not be tolerated as an employee of this city.

Kersey resigned, leaving behind a trail of angst and disappointment. He told The Daily Signal, “Even though I resigned, it was made clear to me in the meetings by my command staff that if I was to go back to work, they could fire me at any time for any reason.… The only way that was possible is if I compromise my values, morals, and deeply held religious beliefs.”

In a podcast interview at The Daily Signal, Kersey expanded on his decision to resign rather than compromise:

I was growing a lot as I was learning [as an police officer] what it meant to serve. But at the end of the day, I realized that a job title isn’t everything to me.


And my religious beliefs, my Savior, Jesus Christ … I mean, my values are at the core of who I am. And I’m not willing to compromise those in order to keep a job title…


At the end of the day, I knew what I had to do. And I believe part of that was the Holy Spirit coming in and letting me know: “Hey, you have to do this.”

In that podcast at The Daily Signal Kersey expressed surprise and disappointment over his situation. After all, one of the top people in the department declared himself also to be a Christian. He said:

I thought that’s why we left England in the first place. We need to go back to our roots and really discover, what kind of people do we want to be. It’s one thing to champion these documents, but it’s another thing to actually say, “Hey, you know what? I personally, as a citizen of this nation, believe in the reason for our founding. And I’m going to stand for it and I’m going to uphold it in my own life.” And that’s what we absolutely have to do.


And so, I certainly hope that the … city of Port Wentworth and the Port Wentworth Police Department will come forward now and say, “Look, we apologize that this ever happened.” And that, “We’re going to ensure that this never happens to one of our officers again.”

First Liberty entered the picture earlier this week, sending a letter to both the mayor and the assistant police chief (the chief of police having suddenly resigned a few days earlier, but that’s another story):

This letter concerns the Department unconstitutionally forcing Mr. Kersey out of his job because of his deeply held religious beliefs….


Mr. Kersey realized that he faced a choice between compromising his deeply held religious beliefs or continuing as a police officer with the Department.


Forced to choose between his private religious speech [rights] and the job he loved, Mr. Kersey had no choice but to resign.

First Liberty quoted from numerous court decisions supporting the rights of others in similar situations, including this one: “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

And then came the gentle nudge toward reasonableness in order for the city and its police department to avoid a lawsuit:

The Department violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses when it prohibited Mr. Kersey from expressing his sincere religious beliefs on his private social media accounts.


Putting Mr. Kersey to the choice of censoring his private religious speech or remaining employed as a police officer is an unconstitutional choice. (See Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer)


Requiring Mr. Kersey to censor his private, off-duty religious speech to remain employed as a police officer is an unconstitutional violation of Mr. Kersey’s rights under the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment.


The City of Port Wentworth and the Port Wentworth Police Department should issue a public statement committing to respect the First Amendment rights of its police officers and announce an official change of policy.

When asked where he goes from here, Kersey said:

My integrity and Christian beliefs are at the core of who I am, and I will not abandon them….


I [don’t’] want to be the man who sits passively by as the whole world, and my fellow countrymen, are deceived by the lies … happening in the culture.

Employers seeking to hire a fine young man can learn more about him and his beliefs at “The Jacob Kersey Program.”

More Proof the FBI Is Being Weaponized Against American Citizens

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 13, 2023:  

On Thursday, former FBI agent Nicole Parker, an 11-year veteran of the agency before she quit four months ago, testified before the House Subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government.

She quit because the agency has now become a weapon pointed at innocent Americans:

For me, distancing myself from egregious mistakes, immoral behavior, politically charged actions taken by a small but destructive few FBI employees became exhausting.… [I] no longer felt [that I was] the type of agent the FBI valued.

Her testimony came just a day after another former agent released a document that the Richmond, Virginia, office of the FBI had generated urging field agents to infiltrate the Catholic church looking for terrorists.

Kyle Seraphin, a former FBI special agent, federal whistleblower, and USAF veteran, posted a copy of the report dated January 23, 2023, regarding “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology.” The report referred to “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” (RTCs) and expressed “high confidence” that agents can mitigate their terrorist objectives by infiltrating local Catholic churches.

And where did the FBI get such information? Wrote Seraphin:

The attached appendices refer to a number of articles and the out-of-FBI-policy Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) at the end of the document.


For example, Appendix D is a direct copy of the SPLC list of “Radical Traditional Catholicism Hate Groups,” including the web address accessed. The SPLC appears to be a source for the intelligence analyst’s beliefs that RTCs exist and that they are anti-Semitic. The SPLC description for this “hate group” states RTCs “may make up the largest single group of serious anti-semites in America.”

Seraphin didn’t spend any ink excoriating the SPLC for its anti-Christian, anti-traditional values or anti-American bias. He didn’t have to. Readers can go to DiscoverTheNetworks.org and find dozens of pages of examples of its bias, along with connections to 56 hard-core left-wing individuals intent on destroying American culture and turning the nation into a socialist nightmare.

All of which is well known to the FBI, which formally disassociated itself from the outfit back in 2014. But that hasn’t changed how propagandists at the top of the agency obtain their “information.”

Seraphin gives the agency just a tap on the wrist:

Poorly sourced and highly speculative intelligence products [such as this report] lead to opening badly articulated … investigations into Americans in violation of their God-given, First Amendment-protected civil liberties.

He’s right about one thing: the agency’s poor intelligence products can and will lead to grievous infringements of those rights unless the agency is reined in, reorganized, or eliminated altogether:

Opening the door to associating white supremacists with traditional religious practices based on common Christian positions on abortion and the LGBTQ political agendas is a dangerous step. Such investigations can easily lead to the same analysis of Radical Traditional Baptists, Radical Traditional Lutherans, and Radical Traditional Evangelicals. [Emphasis added.]


The FBI is forbidden from opening cases or publishing products based solely on First Amendment-protected activities. By tolerating the publishing of intelligence products as shoddy as this, they are crossing a line many Americans will find themselves on the wrong side of for the first time in history.


This is what a politicalized FBI looks like; it should not be tolerated if Americans expect to enjoy the protections of our Bill of Rights.

Another former FBI agent, this one the former chief of FBI intelligence, Kevin Brock, weighed in on the perfidy:

[The report] is lazy, it is absurdly speculative, it provides no evidence for its thesis, and it relies exclusively on sources known to be aligned with the political left, such as the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, Salon, and the Atlantic, that have been known to be habitually critical of the Catholic Church. That’s not intelligence analysis. It’s parroting.

When the FBI discovered that Seraphin had leaked the incriminating report, it backtracked immediately, saying that it was only distributed in-house and not meant for public consumption, and that, once found out, the agency brass declared it inoperative. The walk-back language is remarkable for its dissemblance and deceit:

While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, this particular field office product — disseminated only within the FBI — regarding racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI….


The FBI is committed to sound analytic tradecraft and to investigating and preventing acts of violence and other crimes while upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans and will never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.

Happily for the security of the American people, more than two dozen FBI whistleblowers have emerged in recent months alleging FBI bias in cases ranging from the Hunter Biden corruption scandal, to claims that parents attending school board meetings are terrorists, to faux claims surrounding President Trump and Russia.

Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), a member of the House committee who heard Nicole Parker’s testimony last week, said that that testimony adds to the increasing body of evidence that the FBI has habitually and intentionally overstepped its bounds, engaging in promoting cancel culture, encouraging censorship on Twitter, treating parents at school board meetings as domestic terrorists, and on and on:

When the FBI is being tasked to go after parents who have expressed concerns at their local school boards about what their children are being taught, and labeled a domestic terrorist … that’s a problem.


When you have the FBI and the administration and agencies coordinating with Big Tech, essentially pressuring a private company to do their bidding in deplatforming, censoring, or silencing dissenting voices, that’s a problem….

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and whistleblowers like Parker, Seraphin, and Brock are shining that light at the core of the problem: the very top brass at the FBI.

Colorado Baker Targeted Again by Anti-Christian Left

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 30, 2023:  

In its ruling in another lawsuit against Colorado baker Jack Phillips, the Colorado Court of Appeals last Thursday said its decision wasn’t biased against him just because he is a Christian:

These proceedings were not marked by any hostility toward Masterpiece [his bakery design business] or Phillips, or by a desire to punish or target them based on their religious views.

Of course they weren’t. Ignore the fact that two of the three judges ruling unanimously against Phillips had been appointed by far-left Governor Jared Polis, who is “married” to a man, and the third by Governor John Hickenlooper who, while a senator, racked up a treasonous Freedom Index score of 5 out of 100. This reflects Hickenlooper’s complete and utter disregard for any constitutional limitations on governmental power, especially in the realm of free speech and the free exercise of religion.

The entire lawsuit was a setup from the beginning.

Following a modest victory for the baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (where the Supreme Court decided in June 2018 that the “civil rights” commission had so grievously expressed its anti-Christian and anti-religious zeal that they ruled, 7-2, against the commission and in favor of Phillips), a queer lawyer from Denver asked Phillips to make a cake celebrating his transition from a man to a woman. He wanted Phillips to create a custom-designed cake that would be pink (female) on the inside and (blue) male on the outside.

The call was made the very same day that the high court agreed to hear Phillips’ case. And just to make sure that Phillips — and every other Christian wishing to enjoy his First Amendment rights — got the message, the queer mouthpiece for the commission called back to ask Phillips to make another cake depicting Satan smoking marijuana. The man/woman interposer said he/she wanted to “correct the errors of [Phillips’] thinking.”

The attorney filed a complaint with the commission, which was prepared to go after Phillips again until the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) informed them that if they did, the ADF was prepared, once again, to defend Phillips.

When the commission decided to back away and settle (details undisclosed), the queer attorney filed suit in state court. The state court ruled against Phillips (surprise!), declaring that “the act of baking a pink cake with blue frosting does not constitute protected speech under the First Amendment.”

In its press release following the state court’s ruling against Phillips, the ADF announced that it will appeal once again to the high court. This time the high court will have a second chance to rule in favor of Phillips’ First Amendment right, which they avoided in their earlier ruling.

The ADF is also defending Denver business owner and website designer Lorie Smith, owner of 303 Creative, over the same issue. That issue, according to the ADF, is whether elected government officials or unelected bureaucrats, as is the case with Colorado’s civil rights commission, have the power to inhibit individuals’ God-given rights to worship Him as they so desire and run their businesses accordingly.

The ADF, with all due respect, misses the point. The anti-religion, anti-Christian Left doesn’t care whether Phillips makes a blue and pink cake, or whether Lorie Smith designs a website celebrating an event that violates her religious beliefs. What they do care deeply about is that the message is delivered: Thou shalt not express Christian beliefs in the public square. Anyone who does so will be subjected to the same torments of hell being visited upon Phillips and Smith.

Supreme Court Has Another Opportunity to Reverse a Poor Prior Decision

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 20, 2023:  

In agreeing to take under review a lower court’s decision in Groff v. DeJoy, the Supreme Court has another opportunity to right two wrongs simultaneously.

Gerald Groff, a Sabbatarian Christian, started work for the United States Postal Service (USPS) in 2012. His job description allowed him to take Sundays off. Even though the local post office grew over time, the service accommodated his religious commitments.

But then that office withdrew the accommodation and, when he couldn’t come to terms with the local postmaster, Groff moved to another location that allowed him to have his Sundays off.

When that second location’s rules changed, requiring Groff to work on Sundays, he tried to work out an accommodation, without success. He was forced to resign rather than violate his religious beliefs and, with the help of three public-interest law firms, filed suit against the USPS in 2016.

He was rebuffed at both the district and appeals court levels. The most recent decision claimed that “exempting Groff from working on Sundays caused more than a de minimis cost on USPS because it actually imposed on his coworkers, disrupted the workplace and workflow, and diminished employee morale….”

The 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of his religion. It requires that an employer make “reasonable accommodations” to the religious needs of its employees.

In the recent decision, the appeals court based its ruling on TWA v. Hardison, decided in 1977, which tilted the equation heavily in favor of employers and against employees seeking similar accommodations.

The dissenting opinion in TWA v. Hardison exposes that “tilt”:

Today’s decision deals a fatal blow to all efforts under Title VII to accommodate work requirements to religious practices.


The Court [majority] holds, in essence, that although the EEOC regulations and the Act state that an employer must make reasonable adjustments in his work demands to take account of religious observances, the regulation and Act do not really mean what they say.


An employer, the Court [majority] concludes, need not grant even the most minor special privilege to religious observers to enable them to follow their faith.


As a question of social policy, this result is deeply troubling, for a society that truly values religious pluralism cannot compel adherents of minority religions to make the cruel choice of surrendering their religion or their job.

A lawyer from the Independence Law Center (ILC), one of the three pro-bono law firms assisting Groff, said, “Observing the Sabbath day is critical to many faiths — a day ordained by God. No one should be forced to violate the Sabbath [in order] to hold a job.”

A lawyer from the Church State Council, another firm representing Groff, added:

Workers have suffered too long with the Supreme Court’s interpretation [in TWA v. Hardison] that disrespects the rights of those with sincere faith commitments to a workplace accommodation.


It’s long past time for the Supreme Court to protect workers from religious discrimination.

Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO, and chief counsel for First Liberty Institute (also assisting in the case), added: “It’s time for the Supreme Court to reconsider a decades-old case [TWA v. Hardison] that favors corporations and the government over the religious rights of employees.”

Groff is hardly alone in fighting to keep both his religion and his job. As Nathan Lewin, a writer for Newsweek, noted:

Countless committed believers have been demoted or denied employment since the Hardison [decision] because their … employers were unwilling to make more than de minimis adjustments in their working conditions and schedules.

The importance of this case is reflected in the fact that fourteen amicus briefs were filed by religious liberty advocates with the Supreme Court, along with 17 state attorneys general and members of Congress.

As ILC attorney Jeremy Samek noted:

At the end of the day, Mr. Groff wants his job back. It’s important for him, but it’s also important for lots of other people who work for the federal government or the post office that they be able to continue their employment and to continue to observe their religious beliefs.

Oral arguments in Groff v. DeJoy (the postmaster general) will begin in a couple months. As noted earlier, the high court has another chance to right two wrongs simultaneously in this case.

The Rising Christian Influence in Hollywood

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 11, 2023:  

Jim Caviezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson’s blockbuster film The Passion of the Christ (2004), said at the time “that accepting the titular role in [the film] all but assured the death of [my] Hollywood career.”

Since then, however, Caviezel’s career has enjoyed increasing success, starting with The Final Cut in 2004, and now his reprise as Jesus in Gibson’s Passion sequel, Resurrection, which has just started production.

Among the 16 films Caviezel has starred in since then are Bobby Jones: Stroke of GeniusDéjà Vu; Outlander; Paul, Apostle of Christ; and Sound of Freedom.

Does this reflect a positive change in the Hollywood culture? Brent McCorkle, who directed the highly rated inspiring biographical drama Unconditionalthinks so:

Most of the people in the flyover states believe in God, and they have faith in Jesus.


There’s a lot of us [and] it’s an underserved market.

He added:

I think Hollywood is slowly waking up to that there’s kind of this sleeping giant out there, as far as this content could play for a lot of people.


And I really think we’re also coming into a place where people are going to be more receptive to faith-genre films that are well done.

McCorkle served as editor of Woodlawn (2015) and I Can Only Imagine (2018), which opened at No. 3 nationwide and remains the top-grossing film in the history of the film’s distributor, Roadside Attractions.

McCorkle is persuaded that the name of Christ is no longer a curse word in Hollywood, as A-list actors and directors are creating faith-based films to attract that “flyover” audience:

I think you’re going to see some really, really strong talented people who actually came up in Hollywood making more faith films, so they’re going to be excellent quality….


I think we’re at a time where we’re going to continue to see [faith-based films] get wider and bigger as a genre, and the stories get better, and the technicality of them continue to improve as more talent comes on board to the genre.

An increasing number of Hollywood celebrities won’t use the name of Jesus as a swear word but as an expression of their belief in Him as their Savior.

There’s Reese Witherspoon, whose career spans more than three decades and is unashamed of naming Christ as her Savior. There’s Justin Bieber, who posted last September, “I want to walk in the plans God has for me and not try to do it on my own … I’m grateful that I can walk with Jesus as He leads the way.”

And there’s Matthew McConaughey, whose faith was on display when he received an award as best actor in Dallas Buyers Club: “[He] graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand.”

McCorkle is director of the upcoming film Jesus Revolution, due to open on February 24. It’s based on pastor Greg Laurie’s book of the same name recalling the Jesus movement in California during the 1970s.

Caviezel is reprising his role as Christ in Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection, which is currently under production, and says that “It’s going to be the biggest film in world history.”

That’s saying something, as Gibson’s first Passion film grossed more than $600 million worldwide, ranking it fifth in the world in the history of filmmaking.

Another Free-speech Lawsuit Goes to Trial

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 13, 2022:  

When Kiersten Hening, a starting forward on the Virginia Tech soccer team, didn’t kowtow to pressure to “kneel” during a “social justice” event at the start of an Atlantic Coast Conference game in the fall of 2020, her coach, Charles Adair, retaliated.

At halftime he castigated her in front of her teammates, and cut her time on the field drastically during the second half. During film review of the game the following week Adair continued to chastise and criticize her, and cut her from the starting lineup ahead of the next two games.

Kiersten just couldn’t go along with the display of “unity” following the death of George Floyd that Virginia Tech embraced. As the lawsuit noted:

On September 3, 2020, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (“ACC”) Committee for Racial and Social Justice announced that, in addition to creating an ACC Unity Symbol and implementing mandatory “diversity and inclusion training for student-athletes” focused on “anti-racism,” a Unity Statement would be read before every ACC event.


This Unity Statement provided: “We, the ACC, are committed to seeing each other as equals, supporting each other, and treating each other with respect and dignity at all times, recognizing that our differences don’t divide us, but they make us stronger.”


As this Unity Statement was read prior to the UVA game, all but three of the players and coaches from both teams kneeled in an apparent show of support.


Hening and two of her teammates declined to kneel.

As Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar and professor at George Washington Law School, noted, “the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech includes both the right to speak freely, and the right to refrain from speaking at all.”

That right also includes, said Turley, “the right to be free from retaliation by a public official for the exercise of that right.”

Coach Adair, not understanding of Hening’s free-speech rights, violated them. He benched her, he publicly ridiculed her, he denounced her in front of her team, and, in the end, forced her to leave the team.

In early December, following oral presentations of both parties, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Cullen denied Adair’s move to dismiss the case, allowing Hening’s complaint to go to a jury trial.

Adair argued that Hening had failed to make a sufficient case against him. He tried to say that, while she was engaging in a First Amendment protected right by not kneeling, she couldn’t prove that he retaliated against her; i.e., that there was no “cause and effect.”

Instead, he claimed that he criticized her for her poor play in the first half of the game.

Judge Cullen didn’t buy it:

Whatever his motivations, the court has no trouble concluding that Adair’s conduct towards Hening — publicly chastising her, removing her from the starting lineup, and reducing her playing time — would tend to chill a person of ordinary firmness’s exercise of her First Amendment rights.


Indeed, Hening has testified that Adair’s actions caused her to take a knee prior to the second (Clemson) and third (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) games of the season before she decided to quit the team.


A reasonable jury, in sum, could find that Adair’s actions reasonably chilled Hening’s First Amendment expression.

Cullen concluded:

This motion [to dismiss] has been fully briefed by the parties, and the court heard oral argument on December 2, 2022 … the court will deny Adair’s motion and allow the case to proceed to trial.

Adair had better settle before that trial and get the best deal he can from his former player.

Christian Law Students Prevail in Free-speech Lawsuit Against University of Idaho

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Saturday, December 10, 2022:  

When a fellow law student asked a member of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) on the campus of the University of Idaho (UI) why the group holds to the traditional belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, she was told that it was because the Bible says so.

When the CLS member offered to discuss the matter further with her, if she cared to, she got offended, felt “threatened” for her “safety” and complained to the administration.

The school’s Office of Civil Rights & Investigations issued a “no-contact” order against not only the CLS student responding, but also two others and the CLS faculty advisor.

In April, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) brought a lawsuit against the university on behalf of the students, noting that “the founding fathers considered [the] irreducible minimum of free speech to be an inalienable natural right that could not be surrendered to the government … [but UI’s no-contact orders strike] at the very foundation of this guarantee.”

The order issued by the university was no simple “stay away from her” order, either. From the lawsuit:

On April 7, [2022] Defendants issued no-contact orders to [the three students] based on their protected speech….


Each order prohibits [the students] from “contacting Ms. Doe in any way, from this point forward, until otherwise notified.”


Defendants’ orders explain that contact “can be defined as, but is not limited to”: “[w]ritten,” “[v]erbal,” “[e]lectronic,” and “[n]on-[v]erbal” communication, including mail, letters, text messages, telephone, voicemail, in person, email, social media, skype, pictures, videos, or music.


The orders also require [the students], including [one] who currently attends four courses with Ms. Doe, to “sit on opposite sides of the room” from her during class.


If [any of the CLS members] believe they have a “legitimate reason” to contact Ms. Doe, they must first obtain permission from [the school].


The orders do not have a termination date or geographic limitation.


They apply indefinitely and both on and off campus.


They also threaten [the students] with discipline.


Defendants consider any violation of the no-contact orders to be “retaliation” that could lead to “suspension” or even “expulsion.”


Defendants issued the no-contact orders with almost no process.


They did not conduct any investigation regarding whether [the students] violated any University policy.


They did not provide [the students] with notice of the allegations against them. Nor did they allow [the students] to respond to any possible complaints against them.


Rather, Defendants issued the orders because they were “requested by [Ms. Doe]” and “deemed” — in Defendants’ own estimation — “reasonable based on the information presented.”

These “no-contact” orders against the three students “violate a host of free speech and free exercise principles.… [They] target [the students’] speech because of its content and viewpoint, impose a prior restraint [on such speech], and demonstrate hostility to their religion,” according to the lawsuit.

In May, the court ordered an expedited hearing on the matter, pushing the school toward reconciliation in advance of a full-blown jury trial. Last week the school relented and acquiesced to all demands, including rescinding the orders, terminating any investigation that the school might be doing into the matter, removing any notation of the incident from the students’ records, and agreeing to stop enforcing the school policies that “restrict or punish speech based on allegations of pure speech alone that does not rise to the level of harassment.”

The school also paid $90,000 as part of the settlement.

The school didn’t offer an apology, however, but instead explained that

The settlement, for the U of I, is a business decision and in the best interest of our students, the university, and the state of Idaho.


Litigation costs money and time as well as creates the potential for ongoing trauma to students.

And then the school whined that it was operating at a disadvantage because all the facts of the matter weren’t allowed to be presented:

The university is often disadvantaged in such a case as laws prevent us from sharing the full story.

It added that the school wasn’t about teaching the law, but about making it a “safe place” for students to live while studying the law:

This case, for us, has always been about safe access to education, which is paramount.

No, said ADF’s senior counsel Tyson Langhofer:

Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s leaders, judges, and school administrators, so it’s imperative that university officials model the First Amendment freedoms they are supposed to be teaching their students.


University of Idaho administrators cannot punish students because they dislike or disagree with their deeply held beliefs — that is religious discrimination and, unfortunately, necessitate[d] this lawsuit.

Southwest Airlines Unrepentant, Vows to Appeal Judgment in Free-speech Case

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 9, 2022:  

In his ruling this week, U.S. District Court Judge Brantley Starr slammed Southwest Airlines: “Bags fly free with Southwest. But free speech didn’t fly at all with Southwest in this case.”

This “case” goes back to 2017, when flight attendant Charlene Carter protested her union spending her dues to transport union officials to Washington, D.C., to attend a pro-abortion march. This conflicted greatly with her Christian views of the sanctity of life, and she expressed herself on Facebook and via emails.

In February 2017, she posted a video of an aborted fetus on her Facebook page along with this: “WARNING, this is VERY GRAPHIC!! I want my tax dollars to STOP funding this … PERIOD!!!! This is MURDER.”

A week later she sent four Facebook messages to the head of the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU), Audrey Stone. The messages included two videos of aborted fetuses, adding “This is what you supported during your paid leave with other [union members] at the Women’s March in D.C.… You truly are despicable.… By the way, [your] recall is going to happen.”

Carter, who began working for Southwest in 1996, opted out of the union in 2013 when she learned how actions of the union were violating her most cherished and deeply held Christian beliefs and principles. But she was forced to continue to pay dues to the union to keep her job.

The company brought her in for questioning over her social media posts, and a week later fired her.

Five years later, with the legal assistance of the National Right to Work Foundation, she filed suit, claiming the airline had violated her First Amendment right to free speech. In July, a federal court ruled in her favor, demanding that the airline and the union pay her more than $5 million in damages.

Carter celebrated:

Today is a victory for freedom of speech and religious beliefs. Flight attendants should have a voice and nobody should be able to retaliate against a flight attendant for engaging in protected speech against her union.


I am so humbled and thankful for today’s decision and for everyone who’s supported me these past five years, including the National Right to Work Foundation.

Her celebration was premature. In December, her award was reduced to $810,000 thanks to caps and other limitations on damages allowed by law.

But the judge ordered Southwest and the union to announce via email to every union member the results of July’s ruling against them. He also forbade both the company and the union “from discriminating against Southwest flight attendants for their religious practices and beliefs, including — but not limited to — those expressed on social media and those concerning abortion.”

Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Foundation, celebrated the court’s ruling but added a warning:

Southwest and TWU union officials made Ms. Carter pay an unconscionable price just because she decided to speak out against the political activities of union officials in accordance with her deeply held religious beliefs.


This decision vindicates Ms. Carter’s rights — but it’s also a stark reminder of the retribution that union officials will mete out against employees who refuse to toe the union line.

Arielle Del Turco, assistant director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, issued a similar note of celebration and caution:

It’s sad that Southwest Airlines had to be told by a court that someone’s exercise of free speech is not an acceptable reason to fire them.


The reality is that we live in a society that is increasingly intolerant of Christian perspectives. Carter’s win is a powerful declaration affirming First Amendment protections for those working in major corporations who don’t want to check their faith at the door.

The fight isn’t over. The company, which complained that Carter violated company policy over her posts as they implicated her as an employee of Southwest, was only too happy to let company banners and supporters march in the pro-abortion march back in 2017.

Accordingly, Southwest has vowed to continue the fight and announced its intention to file an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Free speech isn’t free. Rights not exercised are often lost. The freedom fight is never over. Our appreciation goes out to Ms. Carter for standing tall and soldiering on in the face of opposition, oppression, and criticism. She stands for all who support the right of every citizen to speak in public without fear of sanction or punishment.

SCOTUS Appears Favorable to Web Developer in Lawsuit Against Colorado Anti-discrimination law

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 6, 2022:  

Liberal media watching the two-and-a-half-hour oral arguments in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis on Monday concluded that Lorie Smith is likely to prevail in her preemptive lawsuit against Colorado’s anti-discrimination law and the state agency attempting to enforce it.

Reuters concluded that the high court “leans toward web designer” while Colorado’s liberal CPR News headlined: “Supreme Court seems poised to side with Colorado web Designer in 303 Creative case.” CPR reluctantly added that the high court is likely to rule “that creative businesses [like Lorie Smith’s] would be protected by the 1st Amendment.”

As The New American noted earlier, this case should never have been filed on an issue that never should have been raised, but Smith saw what was coming. Back in 2016, when Colorado’s Democrat-controlled legislature amended the “Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act”, Smith saw that her business would likely be targeted because of her Christian beliefs. That law prohibits businesses that are open to the public from denying the sale of goods or services to people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, or religion.

On her website, Smith makes clear her position:

As a Christian who believes that God gave me the creative gifts that are expressed through this business, I have always strived to honor Him in how I operate it….


Because of my faith … I am selective about the messages that I create or promote — while I will serve anyone, I am always careful to avoid communicating ideas or messages, or promoting events, products, services, or organizations, that are inconsistent with my religious beliefs.

After lower courts rebuffed her complaint, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case. The issue before the high court is “whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

A lower court ruled that Colorado’s civil rights commission may force Smith to develop wedding-themed websites for same-sex couples, while at the same time denying her the freedom to explain her beliefs on her own website. The lone dissenter in that ruling, the 10th Circuit Court’s Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich, called the three-judge panel’s ruling “remarkable,” adding that somehow “Colorado has a compelling interest in forcing Ms. Smith to speak a government-approved message against her religious beliefs.… No case has ever gone so far.”

The problem, wrote Kaelan Deese for the Washington Examiner,

isn’t the law itself. It’s how Colorado was applying the law to Lorie and to other artists by trying to compel their expression, and that’s simply not the way these public accommodation laws are meant to be enforced.

The “problem,” then, isn’t the law but how the civil rights commission is using it to quash her religious expression on her own website. Simply put, this is the “separation of church and state” canard taken to its logical extreme: The government is free to banish all religious expression from the culture. Lorie Smith was just the most recent example of the commission’s pursuit of that outcome.

When Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson tried to differentiate Smith’s business from that of a freelance speech writer, Justice Neil Gorsuch took Smith’s position:

What she has said [is] I will not sell to anyone a message that I disagree with as a matter of my religious faith, just as a speech writer says or a free-lance writer says, I will not sell to anyone a speech that offends my religious beliefs.

The clash between the culture and religion, expressed during the oral arguments on Monday, appeared in stark relief among those who took sides. On Lorie’s side are the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Cato Institute, while those taking Colorado’s side included the Biden administration, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Outside the Supreme Court building, the clash was even starker. On one side advocates for Smith carried blue and white balloons that read “Create Freely 303 Creative” while those on the other side were members of the American Atheists and the Satanic church carrying signs that read “Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay, Christian Fascists go Away!”

The high court will issue its ruling in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis next June.

“Respect for Marriage Act” One Step Away From Becoming Law

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 30, 2022:

As expected, enough Senate Republicans caved on Tuesday to help the Democrats pass their anti-Christian “Respect for Marriage Act.” The bill is now headed to the House, where changes made to the bill to mollify conservatives and assure its passage will be affirmed, and from there on to the White House for signing into law.

Much ado was made about the changes in the original bill offered back in July, to offset criticism that the language all but invited state officials, attorneys general, and the IRS to target not only churches but any group opposed to their same-sex marriage agenda.

The modifications promise “No impact on religious liberty and conscience”:

Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.


Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.

Mat Staver, founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, saw through the deceptive language: “This amendment does very little to protect religious freedom, but it was the hook to garner the votes of 12 Republicans.… The amendment … does nothing to protect Christians and other faithful religious adherents.”

Staver explained:

The bill has essentially no religious liberty protections. The fact that three religious liberty amendments were rejected by the Senate (proposed by Sens. Lee, Lankford and Rubio) in favor of the Baldwin-Collins amendment illustrates the open disdain the bill presents to religious freedom.

Staver revealed the pernicious and odious intentions of the bill:

Because HR 8404 changes federal policy, government edicts on marriage, schools and families WILL change, and all of America will be forced in one way or another to bow to the never-ending LGBTQ political agenda….


And because this federal bill removes gender from the gender-based relationship of marriage, it undermines gender altogether and opens the door to yet more child mutilation via “transgender” surgeries — all because a deviant Congress is saying gender does not matter and perversion should be embraced and even celebrated.

Another public-interest law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), expands on the bill’s purpose:

This dangerously cynical and completely unnecessary bill is a direct attack on the First Amendment.


It does nothing to change the legal status of same-sex marriage anywhere. But it undermines religious freedom everywhere and exposes Americans throughout the country to predatory lawsuits by activists seeking to use the threat of litigation to silence debate and exclude people of faith from the public square.


Today, the Senate has chosen to disregard legitimate concerns about the undeniable harms of this bill.


If the Senate truly cared about protecting religious freedom, it would have included comprehensive amendments proposed by Sens. Lee, Rubio, and Lankford.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, sees the threat to Christians and Christian organizations built into the bill about to become law:

The amended language includes vague assurances that the legislation will not violate religious freedom but it mostly assures us that the bill will not do what no one claimed it would do, such as require congregations and churches to solemnize same-sex marriages.


What is left wide open is the threat to ministries such as Christian orphanages and children’s care as well as adoption ministries and foster care. This amended language resolves nothing, but is offered as an assurance that religious freedom is protected.

Mohler points out still another fault hidden in the language of the bill: “By the way, the language of the bill does not offer any absolute protection against polygamy if a state legalizes it in some form.”

What is clear is that, once signed into law, the bill will in fact allow state officials, state attorneys general from liberal states, and the IRS to ramp up their attacks on Christians and Christian ministries. Senator Mike Lee expressed his disappointment that his amendment to clarify this failed, along with the warning:

Despite the support of every voting Republican but one, and even a Democrat, the Respect for Marriage Act just passed [the Senate] without my amendment, which would have prevented the government from retaliating against religious individuals and institutions for their sincerely held religious beliefs regarding marriage.


This is a discouraging development in our country’s storied history of protecting the free exercise of religion.

The bill, once signed into law, will be such an egregious threat to the First Amendment that it is likely that the ADF and Liberty Counsel are already looking into challenging it in court.

Policewoman Sues to Stop Union From Taking Dues From Her Paycheck

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 25, 2022:  

When Melodie DePierro joined the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2006, she agreed to let its union, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, take her dues automatically from her paycheck.

When she resigned from the union in 2020, she informed them that she was quitting and to stop taking the dues from her paycheck. The union refused, claiming that under a newly crafted and approved contract she only had 20 days — from October 1 to October 20 — to order the union to stop. Since she missed “the window,” the union continued deducting its dues from her paycheck.

She sued to get her money back. Lower courts held for the union. The case was picked up by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which filed a request for the Supreme Court — a “petition for writ of certiorari,” in legalese — to consider her case.

Why is this case important? Because DePierro’s claims are based on a Supreme Court ruling from 2018, Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), in which the high court ruled that the taking of such fees without written consent violates a citizen’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion in Janus that such action violates “the free speech rights of nonmembers [of public unions] by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”

This is a modern-day restatement of the principle voiced by Thomas Jefferson: “To compel a man [or woman] to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he [or she] disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

In Janus, the high court referred to the right to free speech as a “fixed star”:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. [Emphasis in original.]

DePierro’s attorneys built on that idea:

That fixed star shines throughout the year — not only for a few days. [Quoting Janus]: “Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command.”

They maintained that “this case is exceptionally important,” as a decision would affect all public employees, active or retired, represented by unions who are reacting to Janus by installing such “window periods” in their contracts.

A favorable decision in this case would add an additional bulwark to the complaints bound to follow passage of the odious “Respect for Marriage Act” expected next week. Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee makes the case that the way that law is written, it can and will be used to bludgeon into submission any groups (churches, charities, even states) that refuse to recognize same-sex marriage — upon threat of losing their precious federal funding or tax-exempt status.

Those complaints should remind the courts of the statement from Janus, above, that “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” (Emphasis added.)

The petition for policewoman Melodie DePierro was filed with the Supreme Court on November 21. A decision to accept it won’t be made for at least several months.

Colorado Free-speech Case Headed for Supreme Court

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 18, 2022:  

Denver-based website creator Lorie Smith, owner of 303Creative.com, will, after six long years, finally get her day in court. On December 5, oral arguments begin on a case that should never have been filed, on an issue that should never have been raised. At issue: Smith’s right to conduct her business as she sees fit, according to her own values and beliefs.

When Colorado’s leftist legislators passed the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA, Smith immediately saw the potential threat to her business and filed a preemptive lawsuit. If the new law were allowed to stand, her business would be a prime target: She declared that, according to her Christian beliefs, she would not build a website for a marriage that conflicted with those beliefs.

She makes that clear on her website:

As a Christian who believes that God gave me the creative gifts that are expressed through this business, I have always strived to honor Him in how I operate it….


Because of my faith … I am selective about the messages that I create or promote — while I will serve anyone I am always careful to avoid communicating ideas or messages, or promoting events, products, services, or organizations, that are inconsistent with my religious beliefs.

To the anti-Christian liberals at Colorado’s civil-rights commission, this is anathema. Courts ruled in their favor, and Smith appealed. Last February, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case, limiting the issue to this: “Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent, contrary to the artist’s sincerely held religious beliefs, violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.”

According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the public-interest law firm that is representing Smith, the lower court “astonishingly concluded that the government may, based upon content and viewpoint, force Lorie to convey messages that violate her religious beliefs and restrict her from explaining her faith [on her website].”

There was one voice of common sense in that lower court’s ruling, expressed by the Tenth Circuit’s Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich:

The majority takes the remarkable — and novel — stance that the government may force Ms. Smith to produce messages that violate her conscience.… [It] concludes … that Colorado has a compelling interest in forcing Ms. Smith to speak a government-approved message against her religious beliefs.


No case has ever gone so far.

The majority’s ruling, wrote Tymkovich, ushers in “a brave new world”:

The Constitution is a shield against CADA’s discriminatory treatment of Ms. Smith’s sincerely held religious beliefs … [but] the majority ushers forth a brave new world when it acknowledges both speech and silence — yet finds this intrusion constitutionally permissible.


CADA [according to the panel’s ruling] forces Ms. Smith to violate her faith on pain of sanction both by prohibiting religious-based business practices and by penalizing her if she does speak out on these matters in ways Colorado finds “unwelcome” or “undesirable.”

Not surprisingly, the ACLU has lined up on the side of the commission. ACLU national legal director David Cole is worried that the Supreme Court might not only rule in favor of Lorie Smith, but also broaden its narrow ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2018. In that ruling, the high court avoided the free-speech issue and ruled instead that the civil rights commission “failed to act in a manner neutral to religion” and thus violated baker Jack Phillips’ First Amendment-protected rights.

Wrote Cole, “If 303 Creative prevails here, then any business that can be characterized as expressive, and that’s a lot of businesses, can start putting up signs saying no Jews served, no Christians served, no Blacks served.”

This could be a “landmark” case, said the ADF:

No one should be banished from the marketplace simply for living and speaking consistently with their religious beliefs. This could be a landmark case for the freedom of speech, religious liberty, and artistic freedom.


We look forward to representing Lorie before the high court.

Vermont High School Backs Down Over “Transgender” Incident After ADF Files a First Amendment Lawsuit

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 11, 2022:  

Lawyers representing Randolph Union High School (RUHS) in Randolph, Vermont, persuaded school officials to drop their threats of punishment upon receiving a 124-page lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

At issue: the school’s determination to force its transgender policies upon a 14-year-old girl and her father. For daring to question those policies — i.e., complaining when a male who declared himself to be a female entered the girls’ locker room to observe them undressing — RUHS officials demanded that the student, Blake Allen, “take part in a restorative circle … to help her understand the rights of [transgender] students to access public accommodation … in a manner consistent with their [self-proclaimed] gender identity.”

School officials also demanded that her father, Travis Allen, apologize for a Facebook post challenging the mother of the transgender male/female over the veracity of a Facebook post she made defending her transgender male/female son/daughter.

ADF reviewed the incident:

Travis Allen and his fourteen-year-old daughter, Blake, were punished for expressing their views on a matter of profound public concern: whether a teenage male who identifies as female should be permitted to change in a girls’ locker room regardless of the discomfort experienced by girls in that room.


In objecting to a male being in the room while the girls are changing, Travis and Blake each made comments underscoring that the trans-identifying student is in fact a male, including by using male pronouns.


Indeed, their view of the student’s maleness was foundational to their opinions on appropriate use of the locker room.


Yet, their remarks were too much for Defendants’ transgender orthodoxy — Travis was deemed to have “misgendered” the student, while Blake was found guilty of “harassment” and “bullying” — so Defendants disciplined both of them.

ADF claimed that by doing so the school officials violated the Allens’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights:

Defendants are state actors and violate the First Amendment when they attempt to dictate what may be said on matters of public concern.


And they cannot discriminate against speech on the basis of its viewpoint.


Yet, that is exactly what happened here. Defendants punished Travis and Blake for saying that a male is a male, as a matter of sex and biology, regardless of the gender identity that the male has assumed.

On September 21 a male who identifies as a female entered the girls’ locker room while the girls were changing. Many of them got upset and demanded that he leave. Their parents called the principals to complain.

The next day Blake expressed her thoughts on the incident to some of her classmates, exclaiming, “[he] literally is a dude,” who “does not belong in the girls’ locker room.”

That triggered school officials into conducting an “investigation,” after which it was concluded that Blake was guilty of “harassment on the basis of gender identity” and needed to be punished:

Defendants also seek to coerce her to agree with their transgender dogma. In addition to giving Blake two days’ out-of-school suspension, Defendants are requiring her to “[t]ake part in a restorative circle with … our Equity Coordinator and at least two students who can help her understand the rights of students to access public accommodations … in a manner consistent with their gender identity,” and “submit a reflective essay.”


Defendants intend to render their own judgment on this reflective essay; and if they deem it “lacking good faith,” Blake will be required to serve an additional three days’ out-of-school suspension.

Blake’s father, Travis, got involved when he responded to the following Facebook post by the mother of the son/daughter:

I am the mother of the trans student in question and my [son] daughter did not make any comments at all. The entire team can back this up, other than the girl that made up the story for attention.


This is slander, defamation of character, and we have secured a lawyer….

Travis responded:

I am the father of the girl you claim “made up a story for attention.” The truth is your son watched my daughter and multiple other girls change in the locker room. While he got a free show they got violated.


You think this is fine and dandy. I wonder how you would feel if I watched you undress?

For that transgression school officials demanded that Travis apologize, and ended a contract it had with him as coach of the school’s girls’ soccer team.

Claimed the ADF in its lawsuit:

The First Amendment does not countenance this kind of government censorship, where a public school mandates that students and coaches refrain from expressing any view that offends its prescribed views, particularly on an issue as important as whether the school should permit males identifying as girls to undress, shower and change in the girls’ locker room.


Travis and Blake Allen were entitled to express their views on that issue and, in expressing those views, to support them with what is a biological fact — that a biological teenage male is, indeed, a male.


This case presents a textbook example of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, and Plaintiffs are entitled to all appropriate relief.

ADF summed up their argument:

By requiring Blake Allen to take part in a “restorative circle” to help her “understand the rights of students to access public accommodations … in a manner consistent with their gender identity” and “submit a reflective essay” that meets Defendants’ own standards in order to avoid additional out-of-school suspension, Defendants are seeking to compel her to speak in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.


By requiring Travis Allen to issue a public apology for his September 29 Facebook post as a condition to be reinstated as a coach, Defendants are seeking to compel him to speak in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The state of Vermont has created this problem by its willingness to buy into the current fad of “transgenderism.” It states that

  1. All students have a gender identity which is self-determined;
  2. All persons, including students attending school, have privacy rights.

Vermont defines “transgender” as “an individual whose gender identity or gender expression is different from the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

Conflict is therefore inevitable, yet it never existed when the Genesis account was considered the basis of all law. Genesis 1:27, if Vermont state officials would follow it, eliminates the conflict: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.”

After reviewing the lawsuit, school officials backed down. Said ADF: “Shortly after filing the lawsuit, counsel for the school officials notified ADF attorneys that the superintendent was rescinding the disciplinary actions.”

Church Sues New York State Over Law Prohibiting Worshipers From Carrying Firearms

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 9, 2022:  

Eight days after the Supreme Court ruled in June against New York in its Bruen decision that the state’s restrictions on concealed carry permits were unconstitutional, and declared further that all citizens, including New Yorkers, had the constitutional right to carry firearms outside their homes for self-protection, the Democrat-controlled state Legislature enacted a “work-around” law to circumvent Bruen.

The law — S51001 — declares a total ban on the carrying of firearms in “any place of worship or religious observation.”

In a lawsuit brought by First Liberty Institute (FLI) on behalf of Pastor Micheal Spencer and his church, His Tabernacle Family Church, with locations in Horseheads and Ithaca, New York, the complaint states that

It is thus now a felony in New York to carry a firearm in a place of worship, regardless of whether one has a license to carry a firearm and regardless of whether the place of worship expressly authorizes — or even encourages — the carrying of firearms on its property.

Pastor Spencer and a number of his parishioners have shown skill at arms and, until passage of the law defying Bruen, regularly carried firearms during church services to protect the flock.

What makes the new law especially pernicious is its flagrant disregard of the Bruen decision. It specifically targets churches, as the law allows other property owners to give permission to their visitors or customers to carry on site.

The complaint refers not only to Bruen as precedent, but also to another Supreme Court decision — Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo — that was decided in 2020 that struck down then-Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Covid occupancy” requirements which unfairly applied to churches.

Wrote the lawyers from FLI:

Those decisions should have taught New York to proceed with extreme caution where First or Second Amendment rights are at stake going forward.


Instead, the state recently doubled down on its rights-denying tendencies — by infringing two fundamental liberties at the same time.


New York now puts houses of worship and religious adherents to an impossible choice: forfeit your First Amendment right to religious worship or forfeit your Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense.

The complaint focuses on Democrats’ deliberate intention to single out churches in its attempt to circumvent Bruen:

New York’s attempt to force houses of worship and their parishioners to choose between their First Amendment rights and their Second — an outlier policy shared by no other state in the Nation — stands as an act of defiance to the Supreme Court’s recent and emphatic holdings protecting both.


First, by prohibiting the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right in places of worship while permitting its exercise on a wide variety of other private property, and denying to religious leaders the authority it gives other private property owners to decide whether to permit the carrying of firearms, the state discriminates on the basis of religious status, singles out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment, and treats comparable secular activity more favorably than religious exercise.


Additionally, S51001 runs into the Establishment Clause by entrenching on core matters of internal church governance.


The state may have power to dictate many things, but how worshippers should conduct themselves at worship services on church property is not one of them.

Attorneys from FLI pointed out that the legislation passed within days of the Bruen decision had been carefully crafted months earlier, in anticipation of the ruling:

While Bruen and Roman Catholic Diocese should make New York [Democrats] particularly sensitive to protecting … citizens’ First and Second Amendment rights, they seem to have prompted exactly the opposite reaction.


Barely before the ink on Bruen could dry, New York embarked on a campaign “to offset the impact of the court’s decision” — a campaign that also tramples First Amendment rights….


Of course, New York was able to move so quickly because it began preparing legislation to undercut any eventual Supreme Court decision before it was even handed down and regardless of what it might say about the Constitution’s demands….


New York officials have made abundantly clear both their contempt for Bruen and their intention to vigorously enforce all aspects of S51001 notwithstanding the constitutional rights upon which it tramples.

The “workaround” law puts Pastor Spencer and his church — and all other churches in New York — at greater risk than before:

Pastor Spencer believes that someone planning to harm or kill his flock will not be deterred by S51001, and may in fact by emboldened by it since it leaves [all] houses of worship defenseless against those bent on doing violence to people of faith.

The complaint filed on behalf of Pastor Spencer and his church concludes that what New York Democrats have done is deliberately attack not only their church (and all other churches in the state), but also the constitutional basis upon which all religious institutions in the state and the nation operate:

It is therefore a constitutional vice, not a virtue, that New York has disarmed all religious people all at once, whether they kneel in prayer or stand in worship.


In short, S51001 is a compendium of constitutional infirmities, infringing in one fell swoop on Pastor Spencer’s and the Church’s rights to freely engage in religious exercise, to exercise autonomy over the Church’s internal affairs, and to carry firearms to ensure the safety of all persons on the Church’s premises.

The complaint exposes the agenda of New York Democrats: not only their complete and total disregard for and antipathy toward the Supreme Court’s decisions relating to this case, but their vicious animosity toward religion in general. The complaint exposes the real culture war: the church versus the state.

Pastor Spencer and his church are demanding a trial by jury to hear their complaint.

Newport News Pastor “Under Investigation” for Talking Politics From the Pulpit

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 3, 2022:  

After promoting his own campaign from the pulpit for a seat on the City Council of Newport News, Virginia, Pastor Willard Maxwell of New Beech Grove Baptist Church found himself under investigation by local authorities.

A woman familiar with Maxwell’s alleged breach of federal law reported him to local authorities. She included a video of his remarks with her complaint. In that two-minute video, Maxwell said, “We have signs out there. If you want to take a sign to your house that would be great. Anytime you want to donate $5, $25 — it doesn’t matter. Or get other people to donate. I would really appreciate it.”

He then addressed the constraint put upon such activities by the Internal Revenue Service: “Now I know a lot of people say you can’t use certain things or say stuff at church…. Republicans and Democrats alike have been trying to tell me I can’t say nothing. Man, if I can’t say nothing, you can’t say nothing.”

On October 17, the Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn responded to the complaint: “The video that you sent is very disturbing. Please be assured that this matter is under investigation and is being taken very seriously.”

It’s far from clear exactly what local, municipal, or state violations might be involved here. If the violations relate to the Johnson Amendment — the part of the IRS code that infringes on the freedom of pastors to speak on political issues from their pulpits under pain of losing 501(c)(3) status — it’s unclear just how Gwynn would be involved in enforcing that federal law.

That federal law passed in 1954 with nary a peep from any of the American pastors whose right to speak freely from their pulpits was being restricted. The Johnson Amendment is named for then-Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson, one of the most notoriously corrupt politicians of the day. Johnson’s litany of illegal activities had been exposed by local pastors, and in retaliation Johnson proposed the amendment.

The offending language from the IRS code reads:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.


Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.


Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

When he was informed of the investigation by local authorities, Pastor Maxwell responded that he has for years let various political candidates come to speak at his church: “I let Democrats come. I let Republicans come. The individual who is running against me [for City Council] even came and spoke from my pulpit. The rule is: whatever you do for one, you gotta let him do for all.”

He went further:

Anytime anyone wants to come to the church and speak about their campaign, whether I agree with them or not, I let them say whatever they need to say, and garner whatever support they need.


They pass out their literature, they pass out their signs, they say whatever they need to say. And I’ve done that forever.

Whether this molehill turns into a mountain remains to be seen. What popular Christian writer and speaker Eric Metaxas can’t abide is why American pastors let this Johnson Amendment slide into a bill to become federal law in the first place. Writing in his latest book, Letter to the American Church, Metaxas said:

It was in 1954 that then-Senator Lyndon Johnson introduced an amendment to the U.S. tax code prohibiting churches — and any other nonprofit organizations — from taking a public stand on political candidates. If anyone from a pulpit dared to endorse a candidate, that church’s [tax] exemption would be repealed.


It is astonishing that pastors in American allowed this wild idea to go uncontested. In this they behaved rather like many of the submissive pastors in Germany two decades earlier.


Of course, for American pastors meekly to submit to anything like this is far more shocking, given our own history of religious liberty and freedom of speech.

Metaxas then added ominously, “If the churches in America are not free to speak on any topic and in any way that they choose — and if they voluntarily go along with this view — then no one in America is truly free, and America itself has effectively ceased to exist.”

After Eight Years of Litigation, Coach Joe Kennedy Will Get His Job Back

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 28, 2022:  

In a “stipulation agreement” supported by attorneys on both sides, Bremerton (Washington) High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy will have his old job back at the end of the current season:

[Joseph Kennedy] is to be reinstated to his previous position as assistant coach of the Bremerton High School football team on or before March 15, 2023.

Kennedy was fired for one reason and one reason only: Bremerton was following the notion that the Founders somehow had built a “wall of separation” between religion and the state, and that the state was thus free to quash any seeping over from the spiritual world into the secular.

Writing for the majority (6-3) decision in June exonerating Kennedy, Justice Neal Gorsuch touched briefly on that falsehood:

Kennedy’s private religious exercise did not come close to crossing any line one might imagine separating protected private expression from impermissible government coercion. [Emphasis added.]

Tyrants, seizing the quote from Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists more than a decade after the Constitution was put in place as sufficient proof that government must protect itself from spiritual influence, have sold the canard across the land.

At issue was Kennedy’s kneeling and praying in public view after each game. This was, in the district’s view, a violation of separation of church and state. This view as been pushed for decades, using Jefferson’s remarks in his private letter to the Danbury Baptists as a hammer to remove all religious expression from the public square.

Gorsuch expanded slightly on the myth in his opinion in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District:

Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a personal religious observance, based on a mistaken view that it has a duty to suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. [Emphasis added.]


The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination. Mr. Kennedy is entitled to summary judgment on his religious exercise and free speech claims.

The attack on Kennedy’s religious freedom was intentional and deliberate, wrote Gorsuch:

The contested exercise here does not involve leading prayers with the team; the District disciplined Mr. Kennedy only for his decision to persist in praying quietly without his students after three games in October 2015….


Prohibiting a religious practice was thus the District’s unquestioned “object”….


A government entity’s concerns about phantom constitutional violations do not justify actual violations of an individuals’ Frist Amendment rights. [Emphasis added.]

Tim Greenwood of Tim Greenwood Ministries provided one of the clearest definitions of the Founders’ original intent on the matter more than 10 years ago:

The “wall” was understood as one-directional; its purpose was to protect the church from the state.


The world was not to corrupt the church; yet the church was free to teach the people Biblical values [without interference].

The Pilgrims left England over exactly that type of interference. Wrote Greenwood:

The American people knew what would happen if the State established the Church like in England. Even though it was not recent history to them, they knew that England went so far as forbidding worship in private homes and sponsoring all church activities and keeping people under strict dictates.


They were forced to go to the state established church and do things that were contrary to their conscience. No other churches were allowed, and mandatory attendance of the established church was compelled under the Conventicle Act of 1665.


Failure to comply would result in imprisonment and torture.


The people did not want freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion.

Coach Kennedy’s restoration to his position at Bremerton is a small victory in the larger war against religion being waged secular and anti-Christian forces in America, using the myth of separation as justification.

Student Sues Marxist University Profs Over Violation of Her Free-speech Rights

This article appeared online at TheNewAmeerican.com on Thursday, October 27, 2022:  

Maggie DeJong isn’t unique among Christians being persecuted on college campuses across the land. But her case — DeJong v. Pembrook — is unique in the college’s method to quash her First Amendment-protected right to speak her mind about her faith: a no contact order.

The professors in the Art Therapy Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) issued a “no contact” order — virtually a restraining order — against DeJong last February, demanding that she no longer have any interaction, direct or indirect, with three of the students in her tiny class.

“That’s what this case is about: the unconstitutional censorious actions of officials at … SIUE,” wrote her attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in its opening remarks in DeJong’s lawsuit against the university.

The order from the school neatly ignored DeJong’s First Amendment-protected rights by simply ordering her to stay away from those three students: no prior hearings, no charges that DeJong had somehow violated school policies or rules in her interactions with them. Instead, it was a demand from on high:

This Order is not an indication of responsibility for a violation of University policy; rather it is intended to prevent interactions [between DeJong and those three offended students] that could be perceived by either party as unwelcome, retaliatory, intimidating, or harassing.

When DeJong learned of the restraining order that had been issued against her, she protested to one of her professors. The conversation revealed the pro-communist, Marxist indoctrination camp that SIEU has become:

DeJong: I feel this push [from the program] to not hold to my worldview. But it feels like you are coming from a very distinct worldview as well.


So, if [you’re] really accepting this postmodern approach — like everybody has “their truth” — then why am I not allowed to align with my truth?


Professor George: It’s actually a James Baldwin quote that’s coming to mind to explain it: “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”


DeJong: But then, who determines? Because that’s a very dangerous thing, too. It’s very concerning [over] who determines who silences whom.

The above-quoted James Baldwin was so close to the communists who had infiltrated the American Civil Rights movement in the 1960s that the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) was still celebrating him years after his death.

The ADF attorneys made much of the fact that DeJong’s disagreements were in love, not enmity. At the end of more than 40 text messages exchanged between DeJong and one of the students who complained to the school, DeJong wrote this:

DeJong: I wanted to reiterate to you today how much I value you.


Even though we don’t agree. I see a beautiful heart and compassion for children in you. A strong warrior. And honestly a hilarious personality that I think is so necessary when we find ourselves taking ourselves to[o] seriously in our program.


I just can’t express enough the goodness you bring and I didn’t want that to get washed out with our disagreement last night.


What is more important that you know this, than anything else: sorry if this follow up is annoying. But I am okay risking being annoying if it means I can express this to you. Have a beautiful Saturday.


[flower emoji]


Student 3: I know. Last night is not how I wanted that conversation to go. I value you too.

Five days after DeJong’s attorneys sent a letter to SIUE warning the school that it was violating free-speech rights, the school rescinded the noxious no contact order.

Following graduation, and further consultation with ADF, DeJong filed suit over the matter, asking for punitive damages and a formal judgment that the school violated her First Amendment-guaranteed rights, along with attorneys’ fees.

When asked why, ADF attorney Gregg Walters noted:

Maggie has always respectfully shared her religious or political views, which every student is entitled to do under the First Amendment. It is a sad day for civil dialogue and freedom of speech when universities can issue gag orders like those issued against Maggie for nothing more than expressing her beliefs — beliefs held by millions of Americans….


[DeJong] asked the university to change their unconstitutional policies, and the university hasn’t done that. So, she’s not the last student that will be impacted by these policies that censor student speech….


[One of the goals of the lawsuit is] to challenge these policies and ensure that students are able to speak freely on campus about their beliefs.

That case — DeJong v. Pembrook — is pending. The New American will watch for developments and keep readers informed of any outcome.

Latest America’s Values Survey: Good News and Bad News

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 21, 2022:  

The good news from the latest America’s Values Study undertaken by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University is that nearly all of the nearly 4,000 citizens polled not only think that inflation is going to influence greatly how they vote on November 8, but that their vote will likely reflect their belief that the Democrats are primarily responsible for it.

The bad news is that more and more of those 4,000 are looking to government and not to God for help.

Six in ten of those polled say that inflation, the rising cost of living, food prices and shortages, and oil and gasoline prices will influence how they vote in the midterm elections by “a lot.”

George Barna, the lead pollster, wrote:

Many of the most influential issues in this election are those that highlight publicly perceived failures by the Democrats. The highest-impact issues — specifically, inflation, the cost of food and related shortages, and policies and prices related to gas and oil — all highlight turns for the worse over the past two years, when Democrats have held the White House and both chambers of Congress.


If historical patterns hold true, voters will hold Democrats responsible for those failures. Some four out of five incumbents in the U.S. House and Senate are typically re-elected.


However, there may yet be substantial change in the two federal legislative bodies given the confluence of anger with the condition of America, the historical tendency to replace the prevailing party in mid-term elections, the unusually large number of incumbents not seeking re-election, and the fact that the issues of greatest importance to voters underscore public dissatisfaction with Democrat rule.

But when it comes to issues like morality, the right to life, and the threats to religious liberty by the government, those polled scarcely mentioned them at all. As Barna noted,

Even among the most deeply religious Americans, regardless of their faith of choice, a greater emphasis was placed upon the personal impact of governance choices and public policies. That focus on self, to the exclusion of the community, is a reflection of their syncretistic worldview and the decline of spiritual commitment in America.

Barna holds that that “syncretistic” view held by most Americans — including those who call themselves Christians — is made up from a vast buffet-like array of religious positions rather than the singular Christian faith that informed the Founders of the nation.

Len Munsil, president of Arizona Christian University, noted the resultant decline in morality exposed by the survey:

Religious segments such as born-again Christians and people who regularly attend evangelical churches did not include issues such as abortion, national morals and values, [or] religious freedom in their top-five lists [of influences].

Lindsey Jensen, a brand ambassador for Turning Point USA, noted the trend away from traditional Christianity two years ago:

Without the belief in God or the natural rights given to us by God, the Constitution wouldn’t exist nor could it be upheld….


As Christianity declines, we see that more people in our nation look favorably on the idea of more government involvement. Instead of turning to God or the church, they want the government to solve their problems.

She notes the primary problem — people who call themselves Christians don’t act like it:

Our nation is feeling the repercussions of Christians who “check the box” and attend church but don’t actually want the Word of God to inform their daily life and change the way they live.


Our nation needs the kind of people that reflect Christ in all they do.

This is precisely the point made by America’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge:

The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.

The good news is that there is likely to be substantial change in Washington following the midterm elections. The bad news is that the necessary cultural shift away from secularism and the “weak Gospel” toward rebuilding a culture based upon historical Biblical Christianity, self-reliance, and individual responsibility remains elusive.

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann