Tag: Religious freedom

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Kristina Arriaga, president of Intrinsic, a strategic communications firm, and former vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Kristina shares her family’s experiences fleeing Castro’s communist regime in Cuba and other hardships, and how her background has shaped her commitment to religious liberty. They discuss the current political situation in Cuba, and the lessons American citizens, teachers, and students should learn about communism’s impact on human rights. She shares her work to advance religious freedom as former executive director of The Becket Fund, where she honored courageous Cuban political prisoner Armando Valladares and so many other human rights activists, and through her service on several noted international commissions. Finally, they discuss parallels Kristina highlighted in an October 2020 USA Today op-ed, between cancel culture in America and some of the features of communist Cuba, such as speech codes, political correctness, and social shaming. They delve into why cancel culture is so dangerous to the free exchange of ideas and a healthy civic life, and how parents, teachers, and professors can combat it.

Stories of the Week: The Biden administration is extending the moratorium on federal student loan payments and interest – originally scheduled to expire next month – through early 2022. But exactly who is eligible? The New York Times reports that 340,000 of the one million children who did not report for school during the pandemic were in kindergarten, with the sharpest declines in low-income neighborhoods.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice (IJ). They discuss IJ’s 2020 landmark U.S. Supreme Court win in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, and its implications for state Blaine Amendments, bigoted legal barriers that have blocked religious liberty and school choice for over a century. They delve into the current legal and political status of school choice in America, at a time of unprecedented support for education savings account, education tax credit, and voucher programs. As lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Maine school tuitioning case, Carson v. Makin, recently granted certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court, he explains the central issues, and what another major victory could mean for religious school parents. They then turn to higher education, and Michael offers thoughts on why access to religiously-affiliated primary and secondary schooling is still viewed so differently than students attending religiously-affiliated colleges and universities through state and federal grant and loan programs.

Stories of the Week: EdWeek reports that school board meetings across the country have become increasingly rancorous as a result of growing partisanship, the lack of local news coverage, and social media – to the detriment of students’ academic success. The U.S. Department of Education announced the expansion of the Second Chance Pell program, allowing up to 200 colleges to provide prison education programs for those who have previously been unable to access federal need-based financial aid.

Greg and guest host Alexandra DeSanctis Marr cheer a unanimous Supreme Court decision that says faith-based adoption agencies can limit their clients to traditionally married couples and that government must work with them. They also call out Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin for comparing those who want to kill the filibuster with the heroes of D-Day. And they react to the Biden administration issuing guidance declaring that Title IX protections against sex discrimination apply to sexual orientation and gender identity issues as well.

 

Quote of the Day: Religious Liberty

 

I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination [as for a Mormon]; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.
It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul—civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.

Joseph Smith, Jr.

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A federal judge has issued a restraining order preventing the Louisville mayor from banning drive-in church services. Hoping this starts a trend. https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/04/11/federal-judge-issues-restraining-order-against-kentucky-city-and-police-attempting-to-block-easter-worship/ Preview Open

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara talks with Montse Alvarado, Vice President & Executive Director of the Becket Fund, about the implications of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court school choice case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the pervasiveness of 19th-century, anti-Catholic Blaine amendments across the country, and some of Becket’s legal victories in high-profile religious liberty cases. Montse also offers encouraging insights from a recent Becket poll on younger generations’ commitment to religious freedom. She shares the inspirational stories of human rights champions recognized by the Becket Fund, such as former Cuban religious dissident and political prisoner Armando Valladares, and the Nobel Prize-winning writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

Stories of the Week:

Attack the Cartels: Why Now?

 

The attack on the families from La Mora community was horrific; no one would argue otherwise. The reasons for the attack are still unclear. These people were US citizens who left the Mormon Church to escape the ban on polygamy passed in 1885; although many who moved to Mexico identify as Mormons, they aren’t affiliated with the Mormon Church. (Not all of them practice polygamy these days.)

You can go here for more background on the families. The church website had the following quotation:

‘We came into Mexico gladly because we had to,’ one early pioneer stated. At that time, United States marshals were zealously executing the Edmunds-Tucker Law against those practicing plural marriage in the United States. Rather than renounce family ties already established or go to prison, many persons fled to Mexico as a haven from persecution.’

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Our friends at the Freedom from Religion Foundation, that paragon of easygoing menschitude, have filed a complaint against Judge Tammy Kemp, who presided over the recent trial of Amber Guyger. At the trial’s close, Kemp started a conversation with Guyger, then handed her a copy of the bible. Courtroom cameras captured Kemp reading aloud from […]

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Jews: The Canary in the Coal Mine for the Democratic Party?

 

A number of posts have been written about Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and their anti-Semitic remarks, including my own. Many of us have speculated on the reasons for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s silence regarding those comments, or their apologies on behalf of these two representatives. I’ve looked into the reasons for their not condemning their behavior, and the results were even more disturbing than I anticipated. (For the record, I don’t separate attitudes about Israel and the Jewish community.)

Richard Epstein explores the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay marriage ceremony, critiques the judicial style of Anthony Kennedy, and explains how anti-discrimination laws have expanded beyond a useful scope.

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I think the big picture is, If we as a society agree that we can’t manage to interact with our fellow citizens (in personal or commercial relationships, either one) without the federal government always coming in and mediating those relationships for us, then the outcomes in particular cases will sometimes go in favor of the […]

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Supreme Court Rules for Fair Play in Trinity Lutheran Religious Freedom Case

 

In a case decided today at the United States Supreme Court, a church-run Missouri preschool asked a simple question: should religious groups have the same opportunity as secular groups to participate in generally-available public benefits?

The 7-2 decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer today, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, said that the state may not target religious groups for inequitable treatment on the basis of religion when it comes to public program participation.

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[This is the second admirable American I’ve written about. The first was Paul Newman. I’d be pleased to read about who you consider praiseworthy, either in the comments or a post of your own.] I confess, I’m a Larry Arnn groupie. I was in the great man’s presence once and was so overawed, I said […]

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The Government’s Civil Rights Bullies

 

Microsoft Word - 20160908 Peaceful Coexistence 1pmEarlier this month, the US Commission on Civil Rights issued its report Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties. The report, which was occasioned in part by the same-sex marriage debate, tries to determine the correct relationship between antidiscrimination laws and the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion. Currently, persons of religious faith have been legally charged with discrimination under state antidiscrimination laws for refusing to provide their individualized services to same-sex couples because they sincerely believe that marriage is a relationship existing only between one man and one woman. The question is: should they be granted a religious exemption?

The report’s title, Peaceful Coexistence, conveys, perhaps unintentionally, a grim social reality in the United States. Historically, of course, it described the uneasy relationship between the US and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. In that context, the phrase described how two nations, organized under radically different principles, could avoid the dangers of mutual annihilation through nuclear warfare.

One would hope that the stakes would be lower in this domestic debate, but judging from some of the rhetoric surrounding the issue, they are not. The Chairman of the USCCR, Martin Castro, recently commented publicly that “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ . . . remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.” And there are powerful echoes of that position in a statement by five of the commissioners—Castro, joined by Roberta Achtenberg, David Kladney, Karen Narasaki, and Michael Yaki—who write: “These laws”—which seek exceptions to the antidiscrimination laws—“represent an orchestrated, nationwide effort by extremists to promote bigotry, cloaked in the mantle of ‘religious freedom.’”

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Martin Castro, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, informs us that the phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” are “code words” used to discriminate. Castro made the statements as part of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ 306-page report, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles With Civil Liberties.” Originally scheduled for issuance in 2013, its […]

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It is time for an update on the worldwide jihad of Muslim attacks on Christians.  If you have been relying on mass media to keep you informed, then there is a lot that you just don’t know.  This is an ongoing story that our Leftist mass media have shown no interest in conveying to Americans, […]

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If I understand this report by LifeSite correctly, SCOTUS has kicked the case back down with hope but no guarantee of an acceptable compromise.  The U.S. Supreme Court this morning chose not to make a ruling in Zubik v. Burwell about whether the Obama administration’s controversial HHS mandate violated federal law. [….] Preview Open

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