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: Religion

States Preparing for a “Post-Roe,” “Pro-life” America

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

Numerous states are preparing for an America where the contentious issue of abortion is properly and constitutionally returned to the states to resolve. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute (named after the former president of Planned Parenthood with which it was once affiliated) is lamenting the expected outcome of the case before the Supreme Court: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

A favorable ruling in Dobbs would not only uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion law, but would also likely overturn the court’s finding in Roe v. Wade that a mother somehow has a constitutional right to murder her child while in her womb.

Guttmacher laments:

In 2021, state legislatures set an alarming record of 108 abortion restrictions enacted in 19 states. With the fate of Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance at the U.S. Supreme Court, 2022 is shaping up to be even more devastating for abortion rights….

 

Already, a number of state bills have grabbed headlines for proposing outrageous and shocking abortion restrictions … [and] other restrictions and bans … are moving quickly through some state legislatures.

At least 12 states have already enacted so-called trigger bans that would instantly prohibit abortion if the high court does in fact overturn Roe and/or returns the issue to the states to resolve.

Lawmakers in Arizona, Florida, and West Virginia have adopted, or are about to adopt, laws similar to Mississippi’s. Idaho has adopted one similar to Texas’s “heartbeat” law. Four states — Tennessee, Alabama, and West Virginia — have gone further by amending the state constitutions, declaring that there is “no right to abortion.”

Two other states — Kentucky and Kansas — have constitutional amendments pending voter approval later this year. Iowa will vote on a “no right to an abortion” ballot measure in 2024.

Kansas is a rare situation. The state’s supreme court has ruled — as has the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade — that somehow, buried in the Kansas state constitution, there is a right of a mother to murder her unborn child. That has made the Sunflower State a “destination state” for the abortion industry frustrated over abortion restrictions imposed in other states.

So, even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe and returns the issue to the states, the Kansas state supreme court would still allow the murder of the unborn to continue.

The reasoning of the Kansas state supreme court follows that of the high court:

Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights provides: “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

 

We are now asked: Is this declaration of rights more than an idealized aspiration? And, if so, do the substantive rights include a woman’s right to make decisions about her body, including the decision whether to continue her pregnancy?

 

We answer these questions, “Yes.”

Here’s how the Kansas high court came to that conclusion:

Included [in Section 1] is the right of personal autonomy, which includes the ability to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination.

 

This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life — decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy. Although not absolute, this right is fundamental.

 

Accordingly, the State is prohibited from restricting this right….

This is how a court creates law from the bench — by ignoring the right of the fetus to enjoy the same rights as a post-partum baby. The court ignores the fact that the fetus is a human. Instead, it’s a blob that somehow only gains those rights by being born. Pre-born, it may be discarded.

What’s encouraging in the Kansas case is the grassroots effort to pass an amendment overturning the state high court’s dictum. Said Kansans for Life director Danielle Underwood, “Kansas is in a unique position regardless of what happens at the federal level.” So she, along with the Kansas Catholic Conference and Kansas Family Voice, are mounting an effort to inform Kansans on the issue. And that includes more than 1,000 churches:

We’re mobilizing the largest grassroots effort in Kansas history. We are working through over 1,000 churches in the state and making sure we get the word out to Kansans about what is at stake….

 

Now it is up to the people of Kansas to make sure we do our part to ensure Kansas does not remain a destination state for abortions.

 

This is “all hands on deck.”

Of all institutions that should be supporting the right to life, churches should be leading the way. After all, the Sixth Commandment declares, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13).

Christian Middle-school Teacher Sues School Board for Religious Discrimination

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 17, 2022:  

A math teacher at Fort Riley (Kansas) Middle School found herself the target of an effort to remove all Biblical references to sexuality in the school last spring. As the school board running the Geary County School District, where her school is located, decided to move toward gender “fluidity,” Pamela Ricard pushed back. A Christian, Ricard refused to call her students by whatever first name they chose and instead continued to call them either “Miss” or “Mister,” depending on their biological sex.

For that she was suspended for three days last April. When negotiations failed to resolve the matter, she sued the board on Monday.

She has enlisted the assistance of Josh Ney, a partner in the Kriegshauser Ney Law Group, who explained the basis for the suit:

Our suit contends that schools cannot force teachers to promote novel views about gender fluidity and ever-expanding pronoun categories without regard to the First Amendment or due process.

 

Throughout her career, Ms. Ricard has consistently treated every student in her classroom with respect and dignity; unfortunately, the school district has not treated Ms. Ricard with similar good faith or basic fairness.

When Ricard was initially disciplined, the board hadn’t completely sold out to the “woke” ideology, so it found her in violation of the district’s “generic” policies related to “diversity and inclusion.”

Later, as the board solidified its stance against the traditional cultural and Biblical understanding of two sexes and two sexes only, it issued its command:

Society has historically utilized “he/him” when identifying biological males and “she/her” when identifying biological females….

 

Employees should be aware and make an effort to utilize the pronouns an individual requests to be identified by.

 

This will assist in the prevention of discrimination and harassment. This appropriate usage of pronouns also contributes to a culture of unity and inclusivity.

Ricard, who has taught math at Fort Riley Middle School since 2005, refused to bend to the shifting winds of morality. Her lawsuit spelled out her position:

Ms. Ricard is a Christian and holds sincere religious beliefs consistent with the traditional Christian and Biblical understanding of the human person and biological sex.

 

Ms. Ricard believes that God created human beings as either male or female, that this sex is fixed in each person from the moment of conception, and that it cannot be changed, regardless of an individual person’s feelings, desires, or preferences.

 

Any policy that requires Ms. Ricard to refer to a student by a gendered, non-binary, or plural pronoun (e.g., he/him, she/her, they/them, zhe/zher, etc.) or salutation (Mr., Miss, Ms.) or other gendered language that is different from the student’s biological sex actively violates Ms. Ricard’s religious beliefs.

Her suit deplores any requirement that she take a position counter to her faith, for a culture that shifts with each change in the wind and weather:

Under District policies, all teachers must now refer to each student — both in and out of class — using whatever names or pronouns the student claims reflect his or her particular gender identity on any given day.

 

The District now demands this of Ms. Ricard even though the concept of gender identity is entirely subjective and fluid, even though the number of potential gender identities is infinite (with ever expanding options currently available), and even though the number of potential pronouns has likewise exponentially multiplied in recent years — all for the purpose of lending credence to cultural ideas Ms. Ricard does not share or wish to advance that are contrary to her core religious beliefs.

The policies promoted by the school board are bad enough. To require that a Christian adopt them, under pain of punishment, is worse:

Defendants have retaliated against Ms. Ricard for exercising her First Amendment rights, including her right not be compelled to engage in particular speech or expression, have violated her First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, have violated the unconstitutional conditions doctrine, have deprived her of due process and equal protection of law, and have breached their contract with her.

 

Thus, this action concerns the denial of Ms. Ricard’s fundamental and clearly established rights under the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment, the unconstitutional conditions doctrine, and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

As Ricard herself said, “No public school teacher should be forced to contradict [his or her] core beliefs in order to teach math to middle schoolers. I treat all students with respect, but the district has rejected any attempts to find a compromise that respects students without violating my convictions.”

This is a skirmish in the larger war against the cultural foundations of the American Republic. At bottom, that war revolves around this question: “Is the Bible the Word of God and the rule for His creation, or isn’t it?” As Scripture Itself says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).

In Pamela Ricard’s case, she can sue. And so, she is.

Second-grader Chastised for Preaching the Gospel to her Classmates

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

A second-grade student attending North Hill Elementary School in Des Moines, Washington, has been sent to the principal’s office 10 times since the first of the year for witnessing to her classmates on the school’s playground.

When the parents contacted the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the public-interest law firm sent a letter to the principal reminding him of the student’s First Amendment-protected rights, and suggesting that unless the harassment stopped they would be filing suit.

The principal responded by telling ACLJ that the student was scaring her classmates with talks of Satan and hell. She offered religious tracts which some of her classmates took home with them, resulting, as the public-relations officer for the school district told CBN News, in “Multiple parents complain[ing] about their children coming home with religious pamphlets.”

The PR officer filled in the blanks: During playtime the student would stand on a playground table and preach the Gospel. School officials told her she couldn’t “tell other children they’re going to hell and that [she] must stop distributing what the school considers to be unacceptable religious materials.”

The principal said she would be allowed to distribute religious materials but only if the staff decides they’re appropriate.

The ACLJ was astonished after learning from the parents that their daughter was being stopped at the schoolhouse door and having her backpack searched for those “unacceptable religious materials”:

We were astonished when we were first contacted by a second-grade student’s parents who said their little girl had been sent to the principal’s office at North Hill Elementary School no less than 10 times since January 1st for witnessing to classmates on the playground.

 

But it only gets worse. Not only were they scolding her for talking about Jesus to her classmates outside of instruction time, but they were stopping her at the entrance to the school every morning to inspect her backpack and remove any Christian tracts!

 

Her mother witnessed this exchange one morning when dropping her daughter off and immediately confronted the principal. The principal told her that her child is not allowed to pass out tracts or crosses to students because it is upsetting parents, and the school wanted her to confirm that there were no tracts in her daughter’s backpack every morning before dropping her off from now on.

 

Christian tracts were being treated as contraband, as if speaking about Jesus were an illicit drug.

The ACLJ is prepared to defend the student if the school doesn’t back down, declaring that Supreme Court precedent supports her right to share the Gospel with her classmates:

It is well-settled Supreme Court precedent that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969). [Under that ruling] students are free to express their religious views while at school, which includes sharing Bibles, Christian tracts, and crosses.

Since 1969, Tinker has often been cited in cases such as this one. Although the court at the time of the ruling was considered one of the most liberal in judicial history, the majority opinion, penned by Justice Abe Fortas, is comforting:

First Amendment rights … are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.

 

This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years.

In this constitutional republic, wrote Fortas, freedoms come with certain inevitable risks. The alternative is tyranny where no expression outside of what the state declares is allowed:

In our system, undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression.

 

Any departure from absolute regimentation may cause trouble.

 

Any variation from the majority’s opinion may inspire fear.

 

Any word spoken, in class, in the lunchroom, or on the campus, that deviates from the views of another person may start an argument or cause a disturbance.

 

But our Constitution says we must take this risk … and our history says that it is this sort of hazardous freedom — this kind of openness — that is the basis of our national strength and of the independence and vigor of Americans who grow up and live in this relatively permissive, often disputatious, society.

If the Highline School District, where North Hill Elementary School is located, decides to accept ACLJ’s challenge, it will have to show that the student’s behavior “materially and substantially interfere[s] with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school,” according to the Tinker ruling.

ACLJ has given the school district until March 14 to respond. The New American will report on any developments in the case.

Supreme Court to Hear Colorado Web Designer’s Free-speech Lawsuit

This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 24, 2022:  

Not long after Colorado passed its anti-discrimination law (the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA) the state’s civil rights commission — staffed with hard-core liberals — saw an opportunity to weaponize the law against anyone holding traditional views of human sexuality, and they took it.

Colorado web developer Lorie Smith saw the imminent threat from the commission to her business and filed a pre-emptive suit, claiming that the law, if enforced by the commission, would violate her First Amendment-protected rights. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court accepted the case on appeal after lower courts decided the law was enforceable.

Lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) crafted the question the court will answer:

Artist Lorie Smith is a website designer who creates original, online content consistent with her faith. She plans to (1) design wedding websites promoting her understanding of marriage, and (2) post a statement explaining that she can only speak messages consistent with her faith.

 

But the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) requires her to create custom websites celebrating same-sex marriage and prohibits her statement….

 

The Tenth Circuit … astonishingly concluded that the government [the commission] may, based on content and viewpoint, force Lorie to convey messages that violate her religious beliefs and restrict her from explaining her faith.

Specifically, the high court will be answering this key question: “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 [to the United State Constitution].”

This should be a slam dunk for the high court. Nowhere in the Constitution are gay rights guaranteed, but rights of free speech, free exercise of religion, and due process are.

When the high court ruled in a similar case — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — it punted. Instead of settling the issue once and for all — that the Constitution overrides states’ efforts to negate it — it held that the commission failed “to act in a manner neutral to religion.” As a result, Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, continues to be harassed by the commission.

Last July, Colorado’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Smith cannot refuse to create websites celebrating same-sex marriages. The three-judge panel also ruled that she cannot express her reasons on her business website.

As ADF’s Senior Counsel John Bursch explained, “Lorie Smith is being told that she must speak views she opposes and can’t post about her beliefs on her own business website.”

In other words, by weaponizing CADA, Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission is both denying and compelling her speech to fit its perception of how they want the world to behave.

The ADF said this could be a “landmark” case:

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.

On the other hand, the Left is afraid that the Supreme Court will finally do what it should have done in the first place: reaffirm the First Amendment. Mark Joseph Stern, writing for the far-left Slate, warned that by taking the case under appeal, “the court formally commenced its long-delayed project of dismantling non-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ people … [the justices] have indicated that they may take a wrecking ball to the edifice of civil rights law, dismantling the constitutional foundations of non-discrimination in public accommodations.”

Stern fears that “if ADF [and Lorie Smith] prevails, the majority could relegate gay people to second-class status under civil rights law.”

This is just plain silly. What he fears is that the Supreme Court will finally come to its senses and declare that LBGTQ individuals have no “special” rights or privileges just because they assume a particular lifestyle.

Stern is correct about one thing: “If a business’ First Amendment rights outweigh the government’s interest in ending discrimination, few non-discrimination laws will be safe from constitutional attack.”

Precisely. Whether the Supreme Court seizes this opportunity to affirm the First Amendment is an open question. Most liberal commentators bemoan the fact that the high court is now ruled by conservatives, 6-3. In reality it’s a draw: three liberals, three conservatives, and three waffles, including Chief Justice John Roberts himself.

Smith is going to have to wait another year and a half to find out, as the high court won’t be hearing arguments on the matter until October, and then rendering its decision in June 2023.

District Judge Stops Air Force’s Persecution of Officer Seeking Religious Exemption From COVID Mandate

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 17, 2022: 

In a decision fraught with national implications, a Trump-appointed judge in Georgia ruled on Tuesday that the Air Force cannot continue to pressure a reserve officer into taking the COVID vaccine.

Although technically the ruling affects only the future of a 25-year reservist, the judge’s reasoning lays substantial groundwork for future cases against the religious discrimination currently being applied by all the military services of the United States.

The religious discrimination was blatant, as Tilman Self, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, noted on the first page of his ruling. The plaintiff’s superior officer, in rejecting her final request for a religious exemption to taking the vaccine, wrote: “Your religious beliefs are sincere, [they’re] just not compatible with military service.”

Although that statement was a single individual’s opinion, it reflected the Air Force’s general view of religion. As Judge Self noted: “When considering the Air Force’s abysmal record regarding religious accommodations requests, it turns out that he was dead on target.”

In his 32-page ruling, Judge Self took considerable pains to expose the hypocrisy and disdain for those holding strong religious beliefs.

First, any claim by the Air Force that it has in place a procedure to process religious exemption requests is a sham, a fraud, a ruse, nothing but “theater”:

Although the Air Force claims to provide a religious accommodation process, it proved to be nothing more than a quixotic quest for Plaintiff because it was [quoting from another judge’s ruling on the same issue] “by all accounts,… theater.” …

 

Despite thousands of requests for religious exemption, the Air Force hadn’t granted a single one of them when Plaintiff filed her Complaint.

The issue is about the Constitution’s Bill of Rights: “Even in a pandemic [wrote Self, quoting still another judge’s ruling on the same issue], the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”

Judge Self exposed the Air Force’s blatant disdain for those holding sincere religious objections to taking the vaccine:

As of January 31, 2022, the Air Force hadn’t approved a single religious accommodation request, but it had disapproved 2,787 of them and had another 2,443 requests pending.

Not only was the Air Force not granting any religious exemptions, it was punishing those requesting them:

The Air Force … informed Plaintiff that “any refusal to receive [a] COVID-19 vaccine … may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice…” and that “continued refusal will result in involuntary reassignment” … without pay, benefits, or regular responsibilities.

The plaintiff was being “forced to choose between her sincerely held religious beliefs, and her livelihood.” She complained that “the Constitution prohibits Defendants [the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Surgeon General of the Air Force] from forcing her” to make such a choice.

The judge exposed the Air Force’s deliberate intention to deny religious exemptions to everyone requesting them:

Like every other religious-based request and appeal filtering its way through the Air Force’s accommodation process, it was … rubber-stamped with disapproval and denial.

He reminded the defendants that “constitutional protections remain commandments, not suggestions,” and that he agreed with the plaintiff that they “have violated the Constitution because they essentially forced her to choose between her sincerely held religious beliefs and her livelihood.”

The plaintiff’s attorneys had no defense:

Defendants don’t say much in response to Plaintiff’s arguments that their COVID-19 vaccination requirement substantially burdens the free exercise of her religion. And how could they? Very few scenarios paint a bleaker picture than giving up your livelihood in order to follow your religious beliefs.…

 

Defendants simply don’t explain why they have a compelling interest in Plaintiff being vaccinated while so many other Air Force service members are not [vaccinated].

Judge Self then touched the third rail of the whole business of vaccinating against the COVID-19 virus:

Plaintiff’s natural immunity coupled with other preventive measures begs the question: Does a COVID-19 vaccine really provide more sufficient protection?

 

This is especially curious given the number of people who have been and continue to be infected after becoming fully vaccinated and receiving a booster — including the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Additionally, he exposed the Air Force’s hypocrisy and its anti-religion stance:

Defendants’ COVID-19 vaccination requirement allows service members to refuse vaccination for secular reasons while disallowing refusal based on religious reasons…. No matter whether one service member is unvaccinated for a medical reason and another unvaccinated for a religious reason, one thing remains the same for both of these service members — they’re both unvaccinated. In other words, both of these service members pose a “similar hazard” to Defendants’ compelling interest in “stemming the spread of COVID-19” within the military.

He then called out the defendants’ personal hypocrisy in allegedly supporting and defending the Constitution while violating it:

Given “the Nation’s essential commitment to religious freedom [,]” Plaintiff’s harm — a constitutional injury involving her right to freely exercise her religion — is not a mere trivial grievance…. And, what real interest can our military leaders have in furthering a requirement that violates the very document they swore to support and defend?

Stephen Crampton, senior counsel with the Thomas More Society, which assisted the reservist with her complaint, said:

This is a great victory for religious freedom.

 

The Air Force had granted over 1,500 medical exemptions by the time we filed this lawsuit, but not a single religious exemption — not one. After we filed, it suddenly decided to start granting or claiming to grant religious exemptions, albeit only a handful.

 

It is disgraceful how the military in general has disrespected fundamental First Amendment rights.

He then added a hopeful footnote:

We are grateful that the court has restored the Free Exercise rights of this courageous officer and are hopeful that her victory will help to protect the rights of conscientious objectors everywhere.

Judge Halts Persecution of Military Officers for Requesting Religious Vax Exemption

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

Steven Merryday, U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida, has had it with the continuing persecution of military service members requesting religious exemptions from the COVID mandates. He ordered that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and “any anyone acting in concert with him” stop the persecutions of two military officers immediately.

Back in November, he heard a lawsuit from 23 service members complaining that each of their religious-exemption requests had been arbitrarily denied; that they were subject to harassment, intimidation, and threats of losing their positions for even making the requests; and concluded:

The plaintiffs claim the regulations … in reality disguise an unlawful and pervasive policy of the Secretary of Defense and each branch of the armed forces to deny individual consideration of each claim for a religious exemption, to instead “deny them all,” and to punish, possibly by discharge, without exemption or accommodation, those who assert a sincere religious objection and accordingly refuse the vaccine.

He called the process set up by the military services a “ruse” designed to remove anyone claiming a religious exemption from the service:

The claim that the regulations are a ruse becomes … more convincing … that the regulations are, shall we say, insincere and … the less convincing is the argument that the military has a compelling reason not to grant the exemptions and accommodations.

Despite Merryday’s order that each branch of the military report to him every week on how many requests for denials were being made and how they were being handled, it’s clear that those branches have not only failed to comply, but have continued the policy of harassment, intimidation, and threats. These two senior officers were in imminent danger of losing their command positions by refusing to take the vaccine.

In the present case, after hearing of the threats of “undeployment” if the two failed to get the vaccine, Merryday concluded:

The record in this action establishes that the two service members are very likely to prevail on their claim that their respective branch of the military has wrongfully denied a religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination.

 

The record creates a strong inference that the services are discriminatorily and systematically denying religious exemptions without a meaningful and fair hearing and without the showing required under RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] (while simultaneously granting medical exemptions and permitting unvaccinated persons to continue in service without adverse consequence).

 

One struggles to imagine a wholesome and lawful explanation for the results evidenced in this record. The military is well aware of the frailty of their arguments in defense of their practices.

He wrote that the two service members are likely to prevail in a full-blown trial:

The two … service members face either (1) a most-likely-unlawful deprivation of their accumulated status and standing in the United States military, as well as prospective advancement and benefits, or (2) deprivation of their constitutional and statutory rights to Free Exercise and the statutory right to receive a religious exemption unless the military can meet the statutory burden of proof, which the military has not and likely cannot.

Merryday said the defendants have an extraordinarily weak case supporting the continuing mandates:

On the other hand, the military faces a trivial, if any, prospect of material injury as a result of permitting the service members continued service under the same terms and conditions and with the same privileges and emoluments as currently prevail, especially because the military permits a large group of unvaccinated persons to serve without adverse consequence.

That “large group” includes 234 medical exemptions granted by the Marines and 270 medical exemptions granted by the Navy, providing more proof that those services are deliberately and intentionally targeting believers by denying religious exemptions.

Merryday has given Secretary of Defense Austin until February 11 to conjure a sufficient defense of this blatant and unconstitutional behavior. Otherwise, his ruling will become permanent, affecting every service member holding strong religious convictions against taking the vaccine.

Student Sues High School Principal for Violating His First Amendment Rights to Free Speech and Religion

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 2, 2022:  

David Stout, a junior at Plainwell High School in Michigan, was suspended for three days last fall as punishment for expressing his religious beliefs in a private conversation with a friend. When his parents learned about his suspension, and the details behind the school’s action, they enlisted the assistance of the Great Lakes Justice Center.

After reviewing the background, which extends back to April 2021, the attorneys took on the case and filed suit last Thursday, claiming that the school’s principal, assistant principal, and band director all violated Stout’s First Amendment right to express his beliefs:

A foundational core of our Constitutional Republic is that the State cannot punish its citizens for engaging in speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

The 29-page complaint provided the court with all the details. Last April, Stout, a self-proclaimed Christian who is active as a football player and band leader at the school, responded to a question texted to him by a Christian friend about the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality.

From the complaint:

On or about April 28, 2021, Plaintiff [Stout], using his own smartphone, participated in a series of private group chat/text sessions with these friends from school.

 

At one point during this group session, one of these children asked to speak with Plaintiff in a private text.

 

Once Plaintiff began texting with this other child, Plaintiff was surprised that this friend, who was not homosexual, asked Plaintiff’s opinions and beliefs about this other child’s friends “being gay.”

 

Plaintiff stated that the Bible teaches that homosexual conduct is a sin and in the Christian context that God created only two biological genders — man and woman.

 

Plaintiff stated that while homosexual conduct is a sin, however, everyone is a sinner due to freewill choices, and he would pray for them “to repent and follow Jesus.” He also shared that he would extend love toward them because “God commands” it, as “Jesus died on the cross for them and extends His love toward them, and all they have to do is accept it.”

 

Plaintiff continued that “the Bible says at the end of days all will know the truth, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.”

Stout’s response offended his friend, and the text conversation ended.

However, the next day Stout reached out to his friend in an attempt at reconciliation:

Although Plaintiff felt his friend was “discriminatory, selfish, and unkind,” Plaintiff did not want to lose his friendship. Thus, on April 29, 2021, Plaintiff contacted this child for another private chat/text session.

 

Plaintiff began by expressing that he still held his Christian opinions, but he respected his friend’s opinions as well.

 

Further, Plaintiff did not want to end his friendship with this other student because of a disagreement, and he wanted to respect everyone’s opinions even if they disagreed so they could remain friends.

At no time was this conversation made public. It was private, occurred off campus, and was well within Stout’s First Amendment rights. Said the complaint: “Plaintiff never posted or otherwise distributed any of the content of this private chat/text to any public social media site, to the school, to other band members, to the student body, or to any other person.”

When school officials learned about the conversation (probably from Stout’s “friend”), they called Stout in for several “conversations,” which ultimately led to his being suspended for three days in October.

Following the filing of the complaint on Thursday, Stout’s lawyer, David Kallman, issued a statement to the media:

My client’s religious speech and beliefs should be treated with tolerance and respect. Public schools may not violate the Constitution and enforce a heckler’s veto of student speech.

 

Nothing David did caused any disruption or problem at the school. He has the right to express his opinion in accordance with his sincerely held religious beliefs, without vilification or punishment from the government for holding to those beliefs.

Kallman expanded on the case:

David was suspended for three days last fall for stating his Christian beliefs in a private text conversation and in a hallway at school. He is also being punished for not policing and reporting the inappropriate jokes of fellow students.

 

He was instructed to stop posting his religious comments on all his social media platforms, and was disciplined for the offensive behavior of some other students; something he was unaware of and did not participate in.

 

David is a good student with a clean record. Nothing he did caused a disruption or any problem at the school. He has the right to express his opinion in accordance with his religious beliefs without vilification or punishment from the government.

Kallman’s lawsuit is asking the court to declare the school’s principal, assistant principal, and band director’s “actions … unconstitutional and that [they] violated [Stout’s] fundamental constitutional rights,” and to find “that [they] acted outside the scope of their authority.”

The suit also demands that the school expunge Stout’s school records of any mention of the incident, pay all of his attorney’s fees and court costs, and “grant such other and further relief as is just and appropriate.”

That would include exacting promises from the school’s officials not to punish Stout as retribution during his remaining year for bringing them to task for their unconscionable, illegal, and unconstitutional acts.

White House: J. Michelle Childs Being Considered to Replace Justice Breyer

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 31, 2022:  

The White House confirmed on Thursday that one of the nominees being considered to replace Justice Stephen Breyer is present U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs. Childs was nominated to her current position by then-President Barack Obama in 2009 and then nominated by Joe Biden to move to the U.S. Court of Appeals last December.

Biden said he’d been studying the backgrounds of a number of candidates, provided that each of them first fulfill his campaign promise that they be female and black:

While I’ve been studying candidates’ backgrounds and writings, I’ve made no decision except one: the person I will nominate will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity, and that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court.

Nothing was said about how she might view the Constitution of the United States, or the historic (and controversial) decision made in 1803 in Marbury v. Madison what the high court’s primary responsibility is, in the words of then-Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall:

The particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument. The rule must be discharged.

Nothing was said about any “law repugnant to the Constitution is void” when she responded in 2010 to then-Senator Jeff Sessions’ question during her nomination hearings as to how she would “ensure the fair administration of justice”:

The “fair administration of justice” requires that judges act as fair and impartial arbiters, treat all litigants courteously, assess the particular facts and evidence presented in individual cases, make deliberate and well-reasoned decisions based on established legal precedent, and abide by the judicial canons and ethical standards of conduct.

So, by that light, her decision in Bradacs v. Haley in 2014 was bereft of any concern over the Constitution or its 10th Amendment. Instead, in the lawsuit brought by a lesbian couple who wanted South Carolina to recognize their marriage in the state, she ruled that “valid marriages of same-sex couples entered into in other states or jurisdictions [they were “married” in the District of Columbia in 2013] meet the prerequisites for marriage in the State of South Carolina,” completely ignoring the right of the state, under the 10th Amendment, to make its own such rules and establish its own “prerequisites.”

When the Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that the case of “marriage” of same-sex couples was now a federal matter and not of the states, then-Justice Antonin Scalia voiced his dissent:

Today’s decree says that my ruler, and the ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.

 

The opinion … is the furthest extension in fact — and the furthest extension one can even imagine — of the court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its amendments neglect to mention.

The best any Senator could produce following Biden’s racist and discriminatory selection of Childs as one of the “black and female only” selections he is considering for the high court position was this from Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who called it “affirmative action”:

The irony is that the Supreme Court is at [this] very time hearing cases about this sort of affirmative action racial discrimination while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota.

No matter whom Biden selects, he will further enrage the electorate. The latest poll from ABC News/Ipsos finds that his decision to use race and gender as primary qualifiers for the high post is opposed by more than three out of four of those polled.

YouTube Bans Pastor John MacArthur’s Sermon on Biblical Sexuality and Morality

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 24, 2022:  

John MacArthur, senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles and founder of his ministry Grace to You, was one of the reported 4,000 pastors who preached last Sunday against Canada’s new law, Bill C-4. For telling the Biblical truth about human sexuality and morality, his sermon was initially banned by YouTube for promoting what it called “hate speech.”

The video was later restored, and can be seen here.

But the threat to free speech remains, and not only for pastors and preachers such as MacArthur. The Canadian law punishes anyone promoting “conversion therapy” to transgenders, homosexuals, and others whom the culture has confused about their sexual identity. The law has teeth: violations could by punished by up to five years in jail.

The anti-Bible culture in Canada is vicious. Pastors who followed God’s word and kept their churches open during the COVID-19 pandemic, violating government mandates, were jailed.

MacArthur and his church felt the bite from secular authorities as well when health “authorities” in Los Angeles County attempted to shut down his church during the pandemic. After a long and costly legal battle, Grace Community Church and MacArthur were vindicated, and the county was forced to reimburse the church for its legal expenses and other costs, to the tune of $800,000. Nevertheless, MacArthur expects the government’s pressure against him to continue in intensity.

In his sermon on January 16, he said:

There is no such thing as transgender. You are either XX or XY, that’s it. God made man male and female. That is determined genetically, that is physiology, that is science, that is reality.… The reality of that lie and deception is so damaging, so destructive, so isolating, so corrupting, that it needs to be confronted.

He was joined in preaching on this theme by thousands of pastors across North America on Sunday, January 16, following the urging by MacArthur and Liberty Coalition Canada to do so.

MacArthur drew inspiration for the title of his sermon, “And Such Were Some of You,” from the apostle Paul’s letter to Christians in Corinth:

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

To the anti-God voices this is anathema. No one must pledge allegiance to any other power but to that of the state. And that’s the real threat from the Canadian law: The business of the church is “conversion” of sinners of every stripe, hue, and color. If they are sinners then they are ripe for conversion, according to the Word of God. If the Canadian law is allowed to stand, and a similar law is implemented in the United States, it’s easy to see how anyone attempting to promote the Christian faith to a non-believer could be subject to sanctions by the state.

As James Coates, the first Canadian pastor to be jailed for keeping his church open during the pandemic, said,

I believe our government is capitalizing on a politically expedient [event] in an effort to further dismantle Western civilization as we know it. To do this, it must outlaw its very foundation, which is rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview.

Bill C-4 is another brick laid in this effort and is evidence that our government is under the judgment of God.

Those who stand against the state can expect to suffer, added Coates:

As governments seek totalitarian authority over every aspect of society, it’s inevitable that they will persecute any and all who refuse to declare allegiance to the state. As such, unless the tide of totalitarianism is stemmed, Christians can expect persecution to increase.

For proof, YouTube’s banning of Biblical truth from its platform (even though it restored MacArthur’s sermon later) should awaken those who think the attack is only on preachers in Canada protesting an obscure law. It’s a shot across the bow of every one who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and who is urged to take that message of salvation to the world.

As Marty Moore, a Canadian attorney for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, told Fox News, “This piece of legislation is by the far the most direct attack we’ve seen on freedom of expression and freedom of conscience and religion.” In essence, the law is an attempt to criminalize Christianity.

MacArthur put the matter succinctly:

This notion that you are something other than your biology is a cultural construct intended as an assault on God.

More Than 4,000 North American Pastors Decried Canada’s Latest Attack on Their Free Speech Last Sunday

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

More than 4,000 pastors in Canada and the United States used their pulpits last Sunday to decry Bill C-4, the Canadian government’s edict declaring “conversion therapy” illegal, with five years in jail for those caught promoting it in any way.

In the bill’s preamble (the bill was rushed through the Canadian Parliament in December with almost no debate before being adopted unanimously), it declared that the traditional view of a person’s sexuality — heterosexuality and the existence of just two sexes, male and female — is a “myth”:

[It’s a] myth that heterosexuality, cisgender [antonym to transgender] identity, and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are to be preferred over other sexual orientations.

In other words, Bill C-4 — by government decree — officially declares that God’s word on the matter is a myth, and anyone, not just pastors, who advocates the Biblical view is subject to arrest and jail time.

The language in the bill is so broad that even informal private conversations among citizens over the practice, even if not in the context of promoting it, could indict those citizens for violating the new law.

From the bill:

[Conversion therapy is any kind of counseling designed to] repress or reduce non-heterosexual [i.e., same-sex] attraction or sexual behavior, repress a person’s non-cisgender [i.e., normal] identity, [or] repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not confirm to the sex assigned to the person at birth.

Marty Moore, an attorney for the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, told Fox News: “This piece of legislation is by far the most direct attack we’ve seen on freedom of expression and freedom of conscience and religion.”

It extends far beyond sermons that may be preached in churches, said Moore:

The teaching and the propagation of those faiths, if it comes into contact with an LGBTQ person, regardless of whether that LGBTQ person is seeking that counseling or not, the propagation and teaching and dissemination of those faiths run the risk of being classified as conversion therapy.

John MacArthur, senior pastor of Grace Community Church located in Los Angeles, supports Liberty Coalition Canada, which called for pastors to protest Bill C-4 nationwide. He said those who dissent from the new law will be those who hold the Bible’s declarations to be superior to those of the Canadian Parliament:

Ultimately, the dissenters — the ones who will not cave in — are going to be those who are faithful to the Bible.

 

That’s what’s already leading to laws made against doing what we [as pastors and believers] are commanded to do in Scripture, which is to confront that sin.

 

And that’s just going to escalate.

 

The fact that [Canada has] identified [such dissent] as a criminal conduct … takes it to a completely different level, because Canadian pastors have been put in jail for just having church services [during the COVID pandemic].

Pastors speaking out against Bill C-4 relied heavily on Scripture references that directly confront the bill’s claims. Tom Ascol, senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, preached from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Bill C-4’s declaration that the normal Biblical understanding of human sexuality is a “myth” was challenged by Ascol:

There are only two sexes. They are male and female image-bearers of God. God is the One who made Adam, and He made Adam a man. God is the one who made Eve, and He made Eve a woman. And God is the One who made you, and He made you what you are, and what you are is either male or female.

For those whom the culture has deceived, there is hope, added Ascol:

Friend, if you have been deceived — if you have been duped — into thinking you can have Jesus and your sin, hear the words of Jesus. Turn from your sin, and fall before Him today.

Put another way, the only real “conversion therapy” is that offered by the Maker of the universe Himself through the blood of His only Son.

James White, a pastor at Apologia Church in Chandler, Arizona, said it’s going to take courage to stand against the state:

A governmental bureaucrat who comes along and says “That’s what you have to believe” is putting themselves directly against the authority of Christ… and they need to be told that.

 

If, at some point in the future, you, because of your boldness and your committedness to Christ, are brought before a magistrate … then your duty is to look that individual in the eye and say: “Sir, with all due respect to your position, you do not have the authority to contradict the very Word of God that He has preserved for His people down through the ages.”

 

“That Word tells me what is right and wrong. That Word tells me that God created us in His image — male and female. Jesus confirmed that… and if you dare stand against Him, you will stand before Him someday, and you will have no one to intercede for you.”

Pastor James Coates, the first Canadian clergyman to be imprisoned for violating Canada’s COVID edicts by keeping his church open, said Bill C-4 is another attack on the very foundations of the culture:

I believe our government is capitalizing on a politically expedient [event] in an effort to further dismantle Western civilization as we know it. To do this, it must outlaw its very foundation, which is rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview.

 

Bill C-4 is another brick laid in this effort and is evidence that our government is under the judgment of God.

Those who stand against the state can expect to suffer, added Coates:

As governments seek totalitarian authority over every aspect of society, it’s inevitable that they will persecute any and all who refuse to declare allegiance to the state. As such, unless the tide of totalitarianism is stemmed, Christians can expect persecution to increase.

The attack on Christianity isn’t limited or restricted to Canada. As Pastor John MacArthur said, “If we all stand strong in this conviction together, the governmental forces of evil will be put on notice that divine love and sovereign grace compel us to be faithful to proclaim radical transformation [i.e., the ultimate ‘conversion therapy’] at any cost.”

Boston Appears Likely to Lose in “Christian Flag” Controversy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 20, 2022:  

Following 90 minutes of oral arguments in Shurtleff v. City of Boston on Tuesday, it appeared that the City of Boston lost.

For years Boston has turned one of three flagpoles in front of City Hall into a public forum, allowing flags from many nations and assorted groups to be flown from it. In fact, over the past 12 years the city has granted every one of the 284 requests it has received.

Until 2017. Harold Shurtleff, co-founder of Camp Constitution and former field coordinator for the John Birch Society, asked the city for permission to fly the Christian flag for one hour on September 17 to honor Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The flag raising was to be accompanied by presentations by local preachers on Boston’s Christian history. The city denied his request.

Shurtleff, with the assistance of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit law firm, filed suit. Lower courts ruled against Shurtleff, claiming that the city had the right to deny permission because the word “Christian” implied endorsement by the city.

The city’s attorney, Doug Hallward-Driemeier, said that “the city, for its own speech, does not want to get into the issue of religion.… It didn’t want to fly a flag that was offered as ‘the Christian flag’ because that wasn’t the message that the city itself wanted to communicate.”

Attorneys for Shurtleff, on the other hand, said that Boston treated the flagpole as a public forum, allowing flags from communist China and communist Cuba, a “gay pride” flag, a “transgender” flag, and even the Turkish flag, which depicts the Islamic star and crescent, to be flown from the flagpole.

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan agreed with Liberty First president Mat Staver, saying that banning a religious group from conveying its message in a “transient” (i.e., public) setting open to a variety of speakers and groups violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.

Hallward-Driemeier admitted that, if the court does in fact rule that the flagpole represents a public forum, then the city has no defense.

Kagan quizzed Staver, asking, “Does the city have to say yes to a Swastika?” He responded affirmatively: “If the city allows a Black Lives Matter flag, then it will probably have to allow a Proud Boys flag. That’s just what the First Amendment requires.”

When Hallward-Driemeier claimed that the city’s “goal is to foster diversity of communities” and “commemorate events or occasions,” Justice Clarence Thomas jumped on it, saying that if Christians are not part of that “diversity” that Boston claims to support, “that’s limited diversity.” Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked rhetorically, “Isn’t celebrating Constitution Day considered an event?”

Even the ACLU came down on Shurtleff’s side. Said David Cole, ACLU’s national director, “When the government opens its public property for private speakers, it has to treat everybody equally. This case is really about private citizens’ access to government property to express themselves. And that access is critical to our ability to speak to each other, to express our views.”

Liberty Counsel’s Staver said afterwards:

This case is so much more significant than a flag.

 

Boston cheated when it opened its flagpole to all applicants and then excluded Christian viewpoints. The city then claimed that the flagpole never [was] a public forum despite its history and express policy.

 

The city’s censorship is clearly unconstitutional, and government cannot censor religious viewpoints.

That is how the Supreme Court is likely to rule when it announces its decision in June.

Coach Gets Second Chance to Defend His Right to Pray in Public After Football Games

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 18, 2022:  

For six years, former Bremerton, Washington, high School football coach Joe Kennedy has waited for justice. The Supreme Court initially refused to hear his appeal in 2019 when lower courts ruled in favor of the school district’s firing of him for violating its rules on religious expression. On Friday, the Supreme Court announced it will finally hear arguments in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, with its decision expected by June.

For eight years, Kennedy prayed with his players, both in the locker room before games and immediately afterwards on the 50-yard line. His messages resonated to the point where a majority of the team was praying with him, including players and coaches of the opposing teams.

Things gained momentum and Kennedy eventually started giving motivational speeches after games, invoking Biblical messages.

In 2015, however, an opposing coach decided enough was enough, and, encouraged by the liberal group Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS), the school district was pressured to order Kennedy to stop the practice. When he refused to stop, he was fired.

With the assistance of First Liberty Institute (FJI), Kennedy filed suit, and over the intervening years lower courts have consistently ruled against him. Kennedy almost gave it up. In an op-ed published by Fox News last year he wrote:

There are days when I want to give up and move on with my life. There are days when I don’t think I can keep fighting this fight.

 

But that’s when I remember the hundreds of times I told my players not to quit, no matter the challenge.

The issue is much larger than whether he can pray in public or not. At issue is the First Amendment’s guarantee that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” By incorporation the 14th Amendment now applies that First Amendment to the states. And AUSCS attorneys have made a nice living litigating the apparent conflict ever since.

If Kennedy is an employee of Bremerton High School, then he doesn’t have First Amendment rights. His utterances are “government speech,” which isn’t protected by the First Amendment. If the Supreme Court upholds the lower courts’ rulings, then freedom of speech for every government employee is threatened.

Wrote Kennedy:

I also think of the thousands of other public school coaches and teachers whose unalienable right to freely exercise their faith in public is at risk if the [lower] courts’ decisions against me are allowed to stand.

As First Liberty attorney and CEO Kelly Shackelford said, “No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their faith while in public. By taking this important case, the Supreme Court can protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of punishment.”

It’s important to note that the Supreme Court’s initial denial of Kennedy’s appeal occurred while the high court was dominated by liberals. After Trump’s successful appointment of “originalists” who have pledged to follow the Founders’ original intentions in crafting the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, Kennedy’s appeal was granted.

It’s also important to note that Kennedy had the courage in the face of six years of disappointment and court rulings against him to stay in the fight. As Kennedy said in an interview with Fox News:

The First Amendment really means a lot to me. It is really terrible today in America that somebody can be fired just for expressing their faith.

 

So I am just fighting so that no one else ever has to go through this and doesn’t have to choose between their job and their faith.

That’s the type of grit it will take if the Republic is to be saved from tyranny and oppression by those currently controlling the levers of power.

Texas District Court Grants Injunction Against Navy’s COVID-19 Mandate

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 4, 2021:  

Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee to the Northern District Court of Texas (Fort Worth), came down hard on the Navy on Monday. The Navy — and by implication all the U.S. military — has used the COVID-19 pandemic as cover for demanding that no service member may use his religion to exempt himself from taking the vaccine:

The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms.

 

There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment.

He said that the Navy has set up a complex application process that virtually guarantees that any request for religious reasons is automatically denied:

The Navy provides a religious accommodation process, but by all accounts, it is theater.

 

The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory.

 

It merely rubber stamps each denial.

Not only has the Navy created a policy denying any and every religious exemption request, it also has set up a deliberate and intentional system of sanctions against those who even think about making one:

Plaintiffs are already suffering injury while waiting for the Navy to adjudicate their requests. In some cases, Plaintiffs have suffered injury because they seek religious accommodation.

 

Plaintiffs testify that they have been barred from official and unofficial travel, including for training and treatment for traumatic brain injuries; denied access to non-work activities, like family day; assigned unpleasant schedules and low-level work like cleaning; relieved of leadership duties and denied opportunities for advancement; kicked out of their platoons; and threatened with immediate separation.

He granted a temporary injunction against the Navy continuing its blanket denial of requests for religious reasons, and prohibited the service from sanctioning those who are filing those requests.

The history of the Navy discriminating against service members with strongly held religious beliefs goes back years before the pandemic. But it wasn’t until the Biden administration appointed Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense that it was applied unilaterally and completely.

Austin’s reign began on January 22, 2021, and in August he proclaimed “a vaccine mandate directing all DoD servicemembers to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” wrote O’Connor. The Navy set November 28 as the drop-dead date for all servicemembers to submit to the vaccine or face the “full range” — O’Connor’s words — of disciplinary action.

He quoted the Navy’s interpretation of Austin’s mandate:

[Special Operational] personnel refusing to receive recommended vaccines … based solely on personal or religious beliefs are disqualified.

“Disqualified” means, O’Connor noted, “becoming permanently nondeployable.”

Mike Berry, general counsel for First Liberty Institute which is assisting the 35 Navy Special Warfare servicemembers, including 26 Navy SEALS, in their complaint, celebrated O’Connor’s ruling:

Forcing a service member to choose between their faith and serving their country is abhorrent to the Constitution and America’s values.

 

Punishing SEALs for simply asking for a religious accommodation is purely vindictive and punitive. We’re pleased that the court has acted to protect our brave warriors before more damage is done to our national security.

There are other lawsuits pending, but O’Connor’s ruling is the first one shutting down the Navy’s enforcement of Austin’s mandate. Although there are 35 plaintiffs in the present lawsuit, there are more than 35,000 military service members who have refused the vaccine, many of them facing sanctions for doing so.

As Christians they believe 1) that this world is not their home; and 2) in this world they will face trials, tribulations, and suffering. As Jesus Christ Himself said: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

County Sheriff Stands Up to Threat Over Bible Verse Displayed in Sheriff Department’s Building

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 30, 2021:

Columbus County (North Carolina) Sheriff Jody Greene has had a Bible verse displayed on a wall in the sheriff department’s building for years. No one complained, until three weeks before Christmas that is, when he received a complaint letter.

The verse: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13,”

The complaint letter was from Chris Line, an attorney with the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an advocacy group for atheists, agnostics, and non-theists. the letter stated;

The Supreme Court has said time and again that the “First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.”

And:

The court has also ruled “the Establishment Clause, at the very least, prohibits government from appearing to take a position on questions of religious belief.”… [T]his Bible verse display promoting Christianity in a sheriff’s office building is correctly viewed by a reasonable observer as an endorsement of religion, and is therefore unconstitutional.”

Sheriff Greene ignored the letter and kept the Bible verse on the wall.

When the FFRF didn’t get a response from him, on December 14 FFRF’s co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor issued a public statement: “The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office must serve all citizens equally, whether Christian or non-Christian. A blatantly Christian message in a law enforcement division sends a message of exclusion.”

Still Sheriff Greene remained silent. And then a local TV station learned about the complaint letter and ran a story about it. Only then did he decide to respond,  via his Facebook page:

Good afternoon, Columbus County citizens. I would like to address the recent news article WECT TV6 ran on me concerning a Bible verse that is posted on the wall at the Sheriff’s Office. The verse is “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13”

 

First, the Bible verse was placed on the wall after I took office. It was paid for with private funds, not with county funding. The verse is one of my favorite Bible verses, and it seemed fitting for all the adversity I have had to endure. It is very motivational to me and my staff.

 

Here at the Sheriff’s Office we work hard in everything that we do. Before we execute a search warrant, or any service that puts our people in immediate harm’s way, we ALWAYS go to the Lord with a group prayer. ALWAYS!

 

The complaint was politically motivated, said Greene:

I have taken many pictures with that Bible verse in the back[ground] with not a single issue, but now that we are going into an election year, it is an issue.

He said nothing about removing the verse. Instead, he doubled down:

Currently, in Columbus County, we are at 180 [drug] overdoses. Drugs and violence are killing our youth.

 

We need more Jesus and less politics.

He then challenged FFRF to bring it on:

It is time, past time, to stand up. So let me be clear: I will not waiver on my stance and Christian beliefs.

 

Merry Christmas and God bless you ALL!

As of this writing the FFRF remains silent in face of his challenge. But his Facebook page lit up. Within hours he had 45 responses, and all but three were supportive:

• “Stay strong, Sheriff. You and your staff are appreciated.”

• “Thank you Sheriff Greene. Prayers for you & all your staff as they protect us.”

• “Thank you Sheriff Greene and the entire department for all you do. Merry Christmas.”

• “I am inspired by your bold courage in standing for Christian values.”

• “You have my full support to keep Christian beliefs and standards in our sheriff’s office. We must take a stand and defend our rights. Thank you for taking a stand.”

And so on.

Even Franklin Graham, of Samaritan’s Purse, went to his own Facebook page to support Greene:

I’m thankful this Sheriff knows where the true solution to life’s problems and challenges comes from, and he is standing his ground.

 

Will you pray for Sheriff Greene and his staff? And leave an encouraging note?

More support for the sheriff poured in:

• “God bless you Sheriff and your department!!!! We are praying for all of you.”

• “STAND FIRM!! You have our support 100%.”

• “Christianity is not a religion … it is a relationship with Christ!”

• “STAND! Sheriff, I’m glad to know the leader of our law enforcement has heart, faith & a backbone. You don’t stand alone.”

• “You’re doing a great job! Please don’t take it down. Christians must stand for their faith and for each other. You have my support!”

And so on.

If the atheist FFRF (which claims that it has 800 members in North Carolina, a state with more than 10 million residents) decides to take on Sheriff Greene in a court of law, there is no doubt that pro-bono law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) or Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) would relish the opportunity to defend him.

The Staggering Irony of the Launch of the James Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Morning

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 27, 2021:  

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope from the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) launch site in French Guiana on Christmas morning was breathtaking. A joint venture involving NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), it was the culmination of decades of work and the investment of billions of dollars.

The irony of the launch on the day when Christians celebrated the birth of their Savior, Jesus Christ, was also breathtaking. But NASA and the media covering the launch missed the connection altogether.

Bill Nelson, NASA’s administrator exulted:

The James Webb Space Telescope represents the ambition that NASA and our partners maintain to propel us forward into the future.

 

The promise of Webb is not what we know we will discover; it’s what we don’t yet understand or can’t yet fathom about our universe….

 

It’s a time machine. It’s going to take us back to the very beginnings of the universe. We are going to discover incredible things we never imagined.

The telescope, riding on the Ariane 5 rocket, is headed nearly a million miles into space. Its destination is L2, the “second Lagrange Point,” which is described as “a wonderful accident of gravity and orbital mechanics … the perfect place to park the Webb telescope in space.” It’s one of six such known “accidents,” where gravity from the sun and the Earth will allow it to stay in a fixed position, requiring a minimal amount of energy to keep it stable for at least the next 10 years.

CBS News said the telescope “will attempt to capture starlight from the first galaxies to be born in the fiery crucible of the Big Bang.” It added:

The telescope is optimized to capture images of the first stars and galaxies to begin shining in the aftermath of the Big Bang, light that has been stretched into the infrared portion of the spectrum by the expansion of space itself over the past 13.8 billion years.

 

That light can’t be seen by the iconic Hubble, which Webb will eventually replace. Hubble was designed to study visible light wavelengths but even so, it has detected galaxies dating back to within a half billion years of the Big Bang.

 

Webb should be able to push several hundred million years beyond that, detecting light that began heading out when the universe was just 200 million years or so old. That’s the era when the cosmos first emerged from the hydrogen fog of birth and starlight began traveling freely through space.

 

The long hoped-for baby pictures of the universe are expected to shed revolutionary light on the formation and evolution of galaxies, the supermassive black holes that lurk at their hearts and the life cycles of stars, from birth to the titanic supernova blasts that cooked up most of the elements in the periodic table.

NASA itself described the mission:

  • To search for light from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the Universe after the Big Bang;
  • To study the formation and the evolution of galaxies;
  • To understand the formation of stars and planetary systems;
  • To study planetary systems and the origins of life.

Dr. Wernher von Braun, the chief architect for the Apollo Saturn V rocket for NASA, had a vastly different view of what the Webb telescope might find. In a letter he wrote to the California state Board of Education in 1972, he said:

In response to your inquiry about my personal views concerning the “Case for Design” as a viable scientific theory for the origin of the universe, life and man, I am pleased to make the following observations.

 

For me, the idea of creation is not conceivable without invoking the necessity of design. One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all.

 

In the world around us, we can behold the obvious manifestations of an ordered, structured plan or design. We can see the will of the species to live and propagate.

 

And we are humbled by the powerful forces at work on a galactic scale, and the purposeful orderliness of nature that endows a tiny and ungainly seed with the ability to develop into a beautiful flower.

 

The better we understand the intricacies of the universe and all its harbors, the more reason we have found to marvel at the inherent design upon which it is based.

 

While the admission of a design for the universe ultimately raises the question of a Designer (a subject outside of science), the scientific method does not allow us to exclude data which lead to the conclusion that the universe, life and man are based on design.

 

To be forced to believe only one conclusion – that everything in the universe happened by chance – would violate the very objectivity of science itself.

 

Certainly there are those who argue that the universe evolved out of a random process, but what random process could produce the brain of a man or the system of the human eye?

In his new book, The Biblical Structure of History, Dr. Gary North notes that humanists now rule the world of science:

They do not believe in the sovereignty of God. They have constructed a narrative of the history of the universe that explicitly denies any purpose whatsoever.

 

Cosmic evolution is purposeless. It has no design. Out of the cosmos came life about 4.5 billion years ago, we are assured. Then came mankind about 2.5 million years ago….

 

Humanists have substituted their doctrine of the sovereignty of man for the Bible’s doctrines of the sovereignty of God. This underlies all of their historical narratives.

 

There are major conflicting humanistic historical narratives, but they all agree on this point: man proposes, and man disposes.

They are without excuse, says the Apostle Paul. Writing to Christians in Rome, he said:

The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

It will take six months for the Webb telescope to become fully operational, revealing more and more of the wonders of God’s creations that the Hubble telescope has already revealed. One wonders just how long it will take for the Bill Nelsons of NASA, ESA, and CSA to discover that while in the process of looking for the beginning of the universe, they are stumbling over it.

Liberty Counsel Files Brief in Boston’s “Christian Flag” Controversy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 23, 2021:  

In Liberty Counsel’s brief filed at the Supreme Court last week, it claimed that Boston’s denial of Camp Constitution’s request to fly the Christian flag violated both the First and the 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

When Camp Constitution applied to raise a flag during its flag raising event [on September 17, 2017] to celebrate the civic contributions of Boston’s Christian community, during the week of the national recognition of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, the City denied the request without viewing the flag solely because it was called “Christian” on the application.

Such a denial, said the brief, “conflicts with [the Supreme Court’s] precedents holding that speech restrictions based on religious viewpoint or content violate the First Amendment.”

There are three flagpoles in front of Boston’s City Hall. One of them flies the city’s flag (which depicts the City Seal, containing the inscription SICUT PATRIBUS, SIT DEUS NOBIS — “God be with us as He was with our fathers”). But frequently the city will allow outside groups to fly their own flags from it to celebrate various events.

Camp Constitution wanted to fly the Christian flag for about an hour while some pastors and the founder of the camp made brief presentations about the Christian influence on Boston’s history.

It was expected to be a slam dunk. After all, at no time in the previous 12 years had any of the 284 requests from other groups to fly their flags been denied. But, said Hal Shurtleff, the founder of the camp, “when our application was denied because we wanted to fly the Christian flag, we just simply could not let this go.” He said that it was the word “Christian” that forced the denial. Said Shurtleff, “The fact that we called it the Christian flag was anathema [to the city]. Our application was denied, and we called off the celebration.”

And they filed suit. With the help of Liberty Counsel they appealed lower courts’ support of Boston’s decision, which claimed that somehow the “government speech” being exercised by the city in its denial was not covered by the First Amendment. 

But the Bunker Hill flag to commemorate the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill was allowed to be displayed, which is virtually identical to the Christian flag (except for reverse color schemes and a pine tree in the upper left corner).

 

In announcing the filing of the brief, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said:

Liberty Counsel looks forward to presenting this nationally important case to the Supreme Court. It is indisputable that Boston denied the private flag raising solely because the application contained the word “Christian” before the word “flag.” It was this single word that resulted in the first censorship of a private flag raising application after 12 years with no denials.

 

Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted is unconstitutional. This case will have a national impact. Religious viewpoints must not be excluded from the marketplace.

That is exactly the point made by the brief:

The City’s reason for denying Camp Constitution’s flag raising event was precisely and only because the City deemed the flag objectionable, because it was called a “Christian Flag” on the application, even though Camp Constitution’s purpose — to commemorate the contributions of one of Boston’s diverse communities to the City and the Commonwealth — otherwise fit perfectly with the City’s permitted subject matters according to the City’s purposes for allowing flag raisings.

 

The flag’s appearance was not objectionable to [the city], but the flag’s description as “Christian” on the application triggered the denial.

 

If the flag had not been described as “Christian,” [the city] would have approved it.

 

Because viewpoint discrimination is prohibited in a designated public forum, the City’s exclusion of Camp Constitution’s flag for its Christian viewpoint was unconstitutional.

Oral arguments begin before the high court in January with a decision expected to be rendered in June 2022.

The Story of “Navy SEAL 1,” One of 23 Plaintiffs in Complaint Against Biden Over Vax Mandate

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 12, 2021:

In another lawsuit filed against President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 23 plaintiffs complained to the Middle District Court of Florida that their requests for religious exemptions from Biden’s vaccine mandate were denied, thus violating their First Amendment rights, among others.

The plaintiffs included Navy SEAL 1 and 2, two Lieutenant Colonels, an Army Ranger, a National Guardsman, and several federal civilian contractors, among others.

No names were provided in the lawsuit, but the backgrounds of each were provided in the 120-page lawsuit. The story of “Navy SEAL 1” reveals the character and integrity each possesses, along with the courage needed to “buck the system” with this lawsuit.

Liberty Counsel represents them and noted in its lawsuit that

Plaintiffs are United States Armed Forces servicemembers, federal employees, and federal civilian contractors who face a deadline under [Biden’s] Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate … that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs, and have been refused any religious exemptions or accommodation.

They are facing

pressure and abuse … and disciplinary actions have already commenced for some….

 

Defendants are threatening these military heroes with dishonorable discharge for even requesting a religious exemption from COVID-19 shots.

 

Dishonorable discharge is worse that a criminal conviction for these service members because it is a badge of disgrace that follows them for the rest of their lives.

The lawsuit declared

Having sacrificed everything to defend America and its citizenry — and while carrying the images and sounds of war with them throughout their lives — America, the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” would betray them with the worst punishment of dishonorable discharge. And for what cause?

 

Simply because they seek an accommodation from the COVID-19 shots on account of their sincerely held religious beliefs. [Emphasis in original.]

Navy SEAL 1 serves well as an example of the 23 individuals willing to risk it all to challenge the vaccine mandate:

Plaintiff NAVY SEAL 1, United States Navy, is a citizen of the State of California currently stationed at a United States Naval facility in California.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 has requested an exemption and accommodation of his sincerely held religious objections to the Secretary’s mandate that all United States Armed Forces personnel accept and receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of remaining in their sworn posts.

 

NAVY SEAL 1’s request for a religious exemption and accommodation was denied, and he was immediately removed from his position in the United States Navy.

Liberty Counsel provided the court with his background and achievements while serving:

Special Operations Chief NAVY SEAL 1 enlisted in the Navy in 2009 and wanted to serve his country to the best of his ability.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 sought to and became a Navy SEAL. He received training from 2009 starting and finishing BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) and SQT (SEAL Qualification Training) with class 278.

 

He deployed to Afghanistan from December 2011 to September 2012, and received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a combat “V” (valor) for his actions during deployment, along with a combat action ribbon.

 

NAVY SEAL 1’s second tour was to the Philippines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, working under Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF), and receiving an Army Commendation medal.

 

For his third tour, which was outside of his usual deployment cycle and thus 100% voluntary, NAVY SEAL 1 volunteered to augment SEAL Team Seven during the height of the Mosul, Iraq clearance from February to April 2017.

 

During NAVY SEAL 1’s fourth tour, in Iraq from August 2017 to March 2018, NAVY SEAL 1 was the acting assault lead, putting him in charge of a platoon level force to execute the tactical direction of the platoon chief, and he earned a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a “C” (Combat).

 

His most recent tour was to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from March to September 2020. For his leadership setting up, organizing, and executing a large joint close air support (CAS) and combat search and rescue (CSAR) exercise, NAVY SEAL 1 received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. This robust exercise included units from 5 different countries and over 15 assets.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 also received awards for his time spent at training commands. His first tour was at TRADET-1 as the SOUC (Special Operations Urban Combat) Lead Petty Officer from December 2014 to June 2016. He received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Award for his efforts there.

 

His second training command tour was as the Lead Chief Petty Officer of the Navy’s only Joint Close Air Support school. For his efforts in synchronizing joint assets and providing mission critical qualification training for creating Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) he received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Award.

Navy SEAL 1 is also a Christian. As Liberty Counsel explained,

Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] sincerely hold religious beliefs that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that they are to glorify God with their bodies lays the foundation for everything they do, consume, or inject into their bodies.

 

From this foundation they make studied and reasonable decisions about what is good and what is not good or may not be good for their bodies.

 

To knowingly abuse their bodies by engaging in a dishonorable act, or consuming or injecting a substance that will or may produce adverse consequences, is a sin against God.

 

This belief and other sincerely held religious beliefs are foundational to all their decisions and actions and are not limited to aborted fetal cell lines.

 

Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] have sincerely held religious beliefs that the Holy Spirit — through prayer and the revelation of Scripture — guide them in all decisions they make in life.

 

Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] have sincerely held religious beliefs that Jesus Christ came to this earth, died on the cross for their sins, was resurrected three days later, and that when He ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His believers and to guide them in all aspects of their lives.

This is anathema to Navy SEAL 1’s commanding officers, as Liberty Counsel explained:

On September 7, 2021, NAVY SEAL 1 submitted to the United States Navy a request for religious exemption from the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate as an accommodation of his sincerely held beliefs.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 articulated to his commander that he has and exercises sincerely held religious beliefs that compel him to abstain from receiving any of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 met with his unit’s Chaplain, who reviewed his request for a religious exemption and accommodation and found that NAVY SEAL 1’s request was sincere.

 

NAVY SEAL 1’s Chaplain forwarded NAVY SEAL 1’s request to the command.

 

After review, NAVY SEAL 1’s request for a religious exemption and accommodation was denied, and he was preemptively removed from his position as Platoon Chief.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 faces potential court martial, dishonorable discharge, and other life altering disciplinary measures for exercising and seeking accommodation of his sincerely held religious beliefs against COVID-19 vaccination.

As a result of the denial, Navy SEAL 1 and the other plaintiffs “face the unconscionable choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or facing court martial and dishonorable discharge from their faithful service to the nation,” according to the lawsuit.

They are “suffering irreparable injury,” claims the lawsuit,

By being prohibited in their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to the free exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs….

 

By being forced to choose between maintaining the ability to feed their families and the free exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs….

 

By being stripped of their rights to equal protection of the law and being subjected to disfavored class status in the United States Armed Forces….

 

[and by facing] the prospect of irreparable medical injury as a result of the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.

The plaintiffs demand that the court issue a temporary restraining order and that Biden and the other named defendants “immediately comply … so that each individual has the option to accept or refuse administration of the COVID-19 vaccines.” Biden and the others “will immediately cease in their refusal to consider, evaluate, or accept Plaintiffs’ requests for exemption and accommodation for their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Time is running out. Navy and Marine Corps servicemembers have until November 28 to become fully vaccinated, or suffer the consequences.

Unless the court intervenes.

5 Navy SEALs Sue Biden, Department of Defense for Religious Discrimination Over Vaccine Mandates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 11, 2021:  

In addition to having every one of their requests for a religious exemption from the Navy’s COVID vaccine mandate denied, 35 Navy SEALs were harassed, intimidated, and threatened for even making those requests.

On Tuesday, they filed suit against President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, and the U.S. Department of Defense. They are being represented by the public interest non-profit First Liberty Institute (LFI).

Mike Berry, general counsel for LFI, minced no words: The denials are universal, deliberate, intentional, and represent an effort to purge the Navy of Christians:

The fact that the government has not granted a single religious exemption from the vaccine mandate shows that the Biden Administration does not care about religious freedom. Instead, this appears to be an attempted ideological purge.

 

Forcing a service member to choose between their faith and serving their country is abhorrent to the Constitution and America’s values.

 

After all these elite warriors have done to defend our freedoms, the Navy is now threatening their careers, families, and finances. It’s appalling and it has to stop before any more harm is done to our national security.

After filing their requests and having them universally denied, Berry explained what happened next:

When they inquired about seeking religious accommodation for the vaccine, the Navy informed many of the plaintiffs that they could face court-martial or involuntary separation if they don’t receive the vaccine. Each of their religious exemption denials appear to be identical, suggesting the Navy is not taking their requests seriously.

A purge of the Navy of Christians seems far-fetched, but LFI’s 38-page lawsuit dispels any doubt about that intention. The Navy had to violate not only the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, but the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Administrative Procedure Act, Department of Defense regulations, and the Department of the Navy’s own regulations in doing so. The complaint called these denials “unlawful, contrary to law, and arbitrary and capricious.”

Excerpts from the lawsuit:

 

The Navy communicated to Plaintiffs that failure to comply with the Navy Vaccine Mandate by the established deadline — November 28, 2021, for active duty, December 28, 2021, for reserve — will result in immediate adverse consequences, which may include: court-martial (criminal) prosecution, involuntary separation, relief for cause from leadership positions, removal from promotion lists, inability to attend certain military training and education schools, loss of special pay, placement in a non-deployable status, recoupment of money spent training the service member, and loss of leave and travel privileges for both official and unofficial purposes….

 

A Navy spokesperson recently admitted that “multiple religious accommodation requests related to the COVID vaccine mandate have been adjudicated and none have yet been approved”….

 

Plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs forbid each of them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons based upon their Christian faith as revealed through the Holy Bible and prayerful discernment.

 

Multiple Plaintiffs hold the sincere religious belief that all life is sacred, from conception to natural death, and that abortion is the impermissible taking of an innocent life in the womb.

 

As a result of their sincerely held religious beliefs regarding life and abortion, multiple Plaintiffs are unable to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines due to what they believe and understand is a connection between these vaccines and their testing, development, or production using aborted fetal cell lines.

 

Plaintiffs believe that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that was tested, developed, or produced using aborted fetal cell lines would force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by causing them to participate in the abortion enterprise, which they believe to be immoral and highly offensive to God.

The plaintiffs hold that their bodies are the temple of God:

Multiple Plaintiffs hold to the sincere religious belief that the human body is God’s temple, and that they must not take anything into their bodies that God has forbidden or that would alter the functions of their body such as by inducing the production of a spike protein in a manner not designed by God….

 

In accordance with their sincerely held religious belief, multiple Plaintiffs carefully monitor what they take into their bodies, and they are compelled to avoid anything that adversely alters or may modify their bodies’ natural functions in a manner not designed by God.

Many of the SEALs received a formal “COVID-19 Vaccination Administrative Counseling/Warning” that states, “Per MANMED 15-105, special operations (SO) duty personnel (SEAL and SWCC) who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine based solely on personal or religious beliefs will be disqualified from SO duty.”

They will also be declared “medically disqualified” and therefore “non-deployable” for the very missions for which they have been trained.

The lawsuit spells out the violations of the various laws and constitutional guarantees that the Navy performed to excise the plaintiffs from service for their Christian beliefs and ends by demanding “a declaratory judgment [by the court] that Defendants’ vaccination policies … violate Plaintiff’s rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution … [and] under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act … [and] under the Administrative Procedure Act.”

It demanded “an order declaring unlawful and setting aside Defendants’ vaccination policies” along with actual and other money damages “for the violation of Plaintiffs’ rights,” including back pay, legal fees, and “all other further relief to which Plaintiffs may be entitled.”

If the court grants those demands, the immediate threat will have been thwarted. But the main threat remains: The U.S. military has been so infiltrated by secular and anti-God sentiments among its highest ranks that full cleansing and restoration won’t happen as the result of a single favorable court ruling.

Texas to Amend Constitution to Prohibit State Restrictions on Churches

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 8, 2021: 

Among the eight amendments Texas voters approved last Tuesday was Proposition 3, a “prohibition on limiting religious services or organizations amendment.” After already having passed both houses of the state legislature, voters approved it 62 percent to 37 percent.

Under previous powers, Texas cities including Dallas, Denton, El Paso, and Lubbock shut down religious services in March and April 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic. Texans were outraged when, for example, local police surrounded a parking lot of a church where worshippers were holding outdoor services during the shutdown.

Proposition 3 adds an entire section to the Texas state constitution:

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not enact, adopt, or issue a statute, order, proclamation, decision, or rule that prohibits or limits religious services, including religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and places of worship, in this state by a religious organization established to support and serve the propagation of a sincerely held religious belief.

It provided no exceptions. No repeat of a COVID pandemic or its equivalent in the future. As a result of Tuesday’s elections, Texans massively supported the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They likewise supported the 14th Amendment: “[no] State [shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

State Representative Scott Sanford, along with every other Republican in the House, explained his vote supporting Prop 3:

Churches provide essential spiritual, mental, and physical support in a time of crisis. Closing churches not only eliminated these critical ministries and services, but it violated their religious freedom, guaranteed by our laws and Constitution.

State Senator Donna Campbell explained her support:

When the restrictions were put on the church, it crossed the line from what we could do, which was buy groceries, and what we couldn’t do, which was worship as we want to worship.

Pastor John Greiner of the Glorious Way in Houston said: “The church should be the place where people go to get healed … they should be free to close if that’s what they want to do, but I don’t think the government should impose that upon any group at all.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch put the matter well. In a related ruling, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, decided in 2020, he wrote:

 

The First Amendment protects religious uses and actions for good reason….

 

What does it mean to tell an Orthodox Jew that she may have her religion but may be targeted for observing her religious calendar?

 

The right to be religious without the right to do religious things would hardly among to a right at all.

On Tuesday, Texas voters made certain that neither the state nor any of its political subdivisions would ever cross that line again, putting grocery shopping ahead of worshipping the Creator of the Universe, seeking His sustenance and comfort during a time of crisis.

USAF Reserve Officer Claims Religious Discrimination After Being Fired for Not Taking COVID Vaccine

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 4, 2021: 

After 19 years in the U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Brandi King was fired from her position because she refused to be vaccinated. When her request for an exemption for religious reasons was denied, she was terminated.

She hired a highly successful civilian lawyer with an extensive and successful career in defending such cases, Davis Younts, who said this was part of a pattern to “purge” the military of Christians:

Our military is being purged of those who dare to be faithful to their Heavenly Creator and Savior over the earthly authorities within the government and military.

 

This [case] should wake up anyone who believes their God-given, constitutionally recognized freedoms will continue to be protected by our military.

In her prior position she either worked alone or from her home. In addition, she tested positive on a serologic test, showing that she had COVID-19 antibodies present from having previously contracted the virus.

None of this mattered. The letter from her commanding lieutenant general said:

I understand your concerns, which are based on your sincerely held beliefs … [nevertheless] I disapprove your request for religious exemption from required immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine….

 

I do not doubt the sincerity of your beliefs. However … I also had to consider the risk to our mission.… Individual medical readiness is a critical requirement for maintaining a healthy and ready force.

He then said that if she chose to appeal his decision, she had 72 hours to do so.

Her commanding officer said that she would now likely “be subject to court martial, dishonorable discharge along with … punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Service (UCMJ).” He said that since her exemption had been denied, he would terminate her service.

Within 24 hours, her orders were canceled.

In her complaint she provided a timeline of the conversations she had with her superiors and said, “This cancellation of my previously approved order, due to my expression of sincerely held religious beliefs, is religious discrimination.” She added:

The cancellation of my orders was a direct result of my … intent to request religious accommodation [and as a result] I have suffered discrimination and substantial burden for exercising my religious beliefs.

Given her attorney’s remarkable record of defending officers in the past, it is likely that this case isn’t going to go away any time soon.

However, it does reflect the claim that Fox News host Tucker Carlson made on his show on September 20, namely, that the purpose behind the vaccine mandate, and the consequent denial of religious exemptions, represented a “takeover of the U.S. military” by progressives. He called it a “ruse” to rid the military of Christians and other undesirables:

The point of mandatory vaccination is to identify the sincere Christians in the ranks, the free thinkers, the men with high testosterone levels, and anyone else who does not love Joe Biden and make them leave immediately.

 

It’s a takeover of the U.S. military.

Whether that’s true remains to be seen. But King’s experience, and her filing of a complaint over religious discrimination, suggests that it is.

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