Tag: Religious freedom

More year-end awards today!  Jim and Greg embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2022 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, they offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for the year. Their selections range from the campaign trail to the halls of Congress to the biggest land war in Europe in more than 75 years.

With Christmas approaching, in this episode we reflect on Christian persecution in the Middle East, the historic cradle of Christianity and the birthplace of Jesus, and the very different challenges Christians face in the East versus the West.

Annika sits down with Father Benedict Kiely, a Catholic priest who has devoted his ministry to serving Christian communities in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Arif Panju, a managing attorney with the Institute for Justice and co-counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court school choice case, Carson v. Makin; and David Carson, the lead plaintiff. Panju shares the key legal contours of Carson v. Makin and the potential impact of the Court’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs. They delve into the origins of the Maine school tuitioning program, and the change in the early 1980s that resulted in discrimination against religious families. They also review the 2020 Supreme Court ruling, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which was a major victory for the Institute for Justice and school choice. Carson reflects on what motivated his family to join this case and take such a courageous stand for school choice and religious liberty, and what it has been like being involved in such a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case.

Stories of the Week: Cara and Gerard review the impact of the Pell Grant program, launched 50 years ago this week, in helping to expand access to higher education. What would high school look like if it were designed to give students job-based learning experiences and marketable skills upon graduation?

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Pastor Robert Soto, a Lipan Apache religious leader and award-winning feather dancer who has successfully upheld his Native American cultural heritage and religious liberties in federal courts. As the country celebrates Native American Heritage Month, Pastor Soto shares his personal journey as a religious leader and describes the Lipan Apache Tribe. They discuss his experience upholding religious liberties under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, with the help of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, after being threatened with criminal fines and imprisonment for using eagle feathers in spiritual ceremonies (a practice banned by the federal government). He also offers thoughts on how American schoolchildren should be taught about the influence of Native American culture across the country and the proud history of Native peoples.

Stories of the Week: Education has played a key role in the Virginia gubernatorial election – is this campaign a harbinger of political battles to come? Analysis of data on the costs of a bacherlors degree, compared to students’ income two years after graduation, reveals a low return on investment at a number of colleges and universities.

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.

Member Post

 

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.’

Member Post

 

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.

Member Post

 

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.

Member Post

 

[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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