Should a Christian church be allowed to practice its faith in all of its activities? Not according to a New Jersey judge, reports patriot-newswire.com. In 2007, a lesbian couple, Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster, asked Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for permission to hold their civil union at the picturesque seaside facility. Ocean Grove, associated with the United Methodist Church, declined the request because of their belief in what the Bible says against homosexuality. Their facility is located on the Atlantic coast and has an open air pavilion where the facility held various functions and activities, many of which are done as a religious outreach. The couple filed a discrimination complaint against Ocean Grove. The New Jersey Division of Civil Rights joined in on the complaint. Jim Campbell, a litigation staff counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, argued on behalf of Ocean Grove, “The government should not be able to force a private Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own religious beliefs. Religious groups have the right to use their private property in a way that is consistent with their beliefs. That right, protected by both the New Jersey and U.S. constitutions, obviously trumps any law enacted by the state’s legislature. Through these events, the association connects with people who might not attend its worship services and encourages them to attend those services in the future. For example, the association begins its Saturday-night family entertainment events with a brief prayer and typically a quick promotion of its upcoming religious services and events. These are just some of the diverse ways that the association strives, in all its programs, to reach the entire community with the love and Gospel message of Jesus Christ.” Administrative law judge Solomon Metzger disagreed with ADF and ruled that Ocean Grove in fact had violated the civil rights of the lesbian couple.”
- Christian students have been told by the ACLU and the courts that they cannot read the Bible, pray, and talk or sing about Jesus Christ in public schools. In some instances, they’ve been punished for expressing their Christian values when they say something like homosexuality is a sin and wrong. Now some Pennsylvania parents in the West Shore School District are anxious to see if the school district will allow Muslim students the chance to pray during the school day, reports Godfather Politics. At the moment, the school district has not said anything about the situation or even if they will act upon it, but a number of are eyes waiting and watching to see if and what they do. Attorney John Rutherford, founder of The Rutherford Institute, is also watching to see if the school district will take any action and what that action will be.
- Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney highlighted the gap between himself and average Americans on Tuesday when he maintained he did not make “very much” from speaking fees, even though the $370,000 earned in a single year would be considered a fortune by many middle-class Americans, reports guardian.co.uk. His comments came at a press conference while out campaigning in South Carolina ahead of its potentially decisive primary on Saturday. Romney has been thought to be the favorite to win in South Carolina, enjoying a double-digit poll lead over his nearest rival, former speaker Newt Gingrich. At the press conference in Florence, he disclosed that he pays a tax rate of only 15 percent in spite of having an estimated wealth of $200 million. Romney has so far resisted offering details about his financial dealings but, during the presidential debate in Myrtle Beach on Monday night, he finally bowed to pressure and said he would “probably” release his tax returns in April. Gingrich, also campaigning on Tuesday, reiterated the tax issue, asking why Romney had to wait until April and claiming South Carolinian voters had a right to know before the primary.
- Amid ongoing challenges to Barack Obama’s presidential eligibility, some have raised questions about the constitutional status of the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, Gov. Mitt Romney, contending he was born in Mexico or that his father was not an American citizen at the time of his birth, reports patriotupdate.com. However, the available evidence shows that even under the strictest interpretation of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, Romney is a natural-born citizen, according to Article 2, Section 1. The questions have been raised because Romney’s grandparents went to Mexico in the 1800s, where Mitt Romney’s father, George W. Romney, was born, July 8, 1907. A genealogy of Mitt Romney has been prepared by eligibility researcher Charles Kerchner. According to a Romney family genealogy prepared by the London, England, LDS Temple, Romney’s grandparents, Gaskell Romney and Anna Amelia Pratt Romney, were polygamous Mormons who fled the United States when the Mormon church disavowed polygamy. As the genealogy points out, polygamy was a federal crime in the U.S., but it was allowed in Mexico. The grandparents were even married in Mexico, although each of them was born to a U.S. citizen father in U.S. sovereign territory.
- As the Recall Walker effort submitted their signatures to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (claiming 1 million signatures), Wisconsinites deserve a serious analysis of this Big Labor, big money game to force a recall election on the people of this state, according to redstate.com. The website claims, “Evidence is already mounting to suggest that Big Labor has used underhanded, fraudulent and illegal tactics to pad their petition numbers. Major national labor organizations have dumped millions into Wisconsin to stop Governor Walker’s reforms and with the integrity of these petitions being questioned; they have shown their true colors. . . . There have been numerous reports of major deficiencies with Wisconsin’s recall process and union bosses seem to have taken full advantage—and then some. . . . Perhaps the most egregious example was discovered when one man admitted signing a recall petition 80 times because he thought President George W. Bush cheated in the 2000 election. He seemed to have no problem rationalizing his abuse of the process and the petition carriers were happy to let him do it. It wasn’t just one bad apple that signed multiple times. Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now actively encouraged people to sign recall petitions more than once.” The report noted that “somehow bribing people to sign a recall petition is not illegal in Wisconsin. However, the Government Accountability Board has frowned upon it and there are efforts to make it illegal.” The report also said, “Big Labor is making a big mistake if they think conservatives and supporters of Governor Walker are going to let Mickey Mouse dictate the future of Wisconsin. If this much fraud is being discovered haphazardly, just imagine how much fraud will be uncovered as the signatures are scrutinized. This needs to be taken seriously by every Wisconsin voter who cares about the integrity of their government.”
- In a controversial opinion article in Aftonbladet, a prominent Swedish newspaper, Lotta Edholm, one of the leaders of Sweden’s liberal party, has called for a change in the country’s social services law to encourage social workers to take children away from homeschooling families, reports the Home School Legal Defense Association. Edholm writes in her blog “that the Deputy Minister of Social Affairs, Maria Larsson, . . . should take an initiative to change the social services act so that the social authorities can intervene when children are kept away from school by their parents.” This is the most direct and serious threat to date for homeschooling families in the Nordic country, where the climate for homeschooling is literally freezing. According to Jonas Himmelstrand, president of the beleaguered Swedish Association for Home Education, Lotta Edholm’s view that homeschooling is incompatible with democracy turns freedom upside down. “Edholm argues that because children have a right to an education, this means that public school is the only valid option,” explained Himmelstrand. “With the knowledge we have today this is pure ignorance. Home education is an effective and perfectly legitimate way for children to learn. Edholm’s argument is totalitarian and breaches fundamental democratic principles. It’s fine for the government to provide schools, but it goes against basic human rights norms to force every child to go to school.” HSLDA Director of International Affairs Michael Donnelly, who has worked closely in support of homeschooling families in countries that are hostile, says that Sweden has taken a dramatic and dark turn for the worse. “Sweden’s educational policy is becoming increasingly totalitarian,” warned Donnelly. “A country that does not permit home education is not really a free country.” He added, “I’ve been working with Jonas Himmelstrand and know his case intimately. Jonas is an outstanding civic leader and spokesperson for the homeschool community, not just in Sweden, but globally. I’ve met his teenage daughter and know that he and his wife are doing a superb job of educating their children.”
- The HSLDA says it is pleased to announce a major victory for homeschool graduates. A new law guarantees the equal treatment of homeschool graduates who seek to enlist in the U.S. armed forces. The HSLDA had previously detailed their work to ensure that homeschool graduates are able to serve their nation by enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. After numerous graduates were refused recruitment simply because their diploma was granted to them by their parents and not by a traditional brick-and-mortar school, HSLDA worked with the Pentagon to draft a temporary policy to ensure that homeschool graduates were not discriminated against because of the source of their diplomas. Despite this success, the HSLDA was concerned that there was no permanent guarantee homeschool graduates would be able to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Pentagon’s temporary policy was scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2012.
- The latest international Index of Economic Freedom revealed that the economy of the United States lost even more liberty for a fourth consecutive year, dropping from ninth to 10th place under the Obama administration and solidifying its designation as “mostly free”—earned in 2009, down from “free” the year before that, reports patriotupdate.com. The global trend was also disappointing to free-market advocates, with the world average falling as governments ramped up spending in a failed effort to fight the economic crisis. The respected index, published by the U.S.-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, has ranked the economic freedom of almost 180 countries annually for the past 18 years. It uses a score out of 100 based on the average of rankings earned in 10 different categories: labor freedom, business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption.