Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Conservatives and Christians taking campus discrimination / censorship cases to court

And they are winning – as The College Fix reports.

Excerpt:

They’ve been ordered not to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution. They’ve been denied promotions because of their faith. They’ve been forced to help pay for abortion-inducing birth control. They’ve been judged solely by the color of their skin.

And they’re fighting back. And they’re winning.

Conservative and Christian students and professors who have been denied free speech or faced discrimination and religious persecution because of their beliefs have recently enjoyed a string of courthouse victories in what’s amounting to something of a banner year for such causes.

There’s been at least six big legal wins in as many months.

Here’s one of the six that surprised me:

Last month, the high court gave the evangelical Wheaton College the injunction it wanted against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, setting a national precedent on the matter.

Wheaton was among dozens of Christian and Catholic universities to file suit against the federal mandate, saying they should not be forced to pay for birth control if it violates their religious beliefs. Now the White House is writing new regulations to allow for such exemptions.

I was on a long drive Friday night, and was listening to the audio book version of Nancy Pearcey’s “Total Truth”. Both me and the woman I am mentoring are reading it. She was talking about Alan Sears and the pro-religious-liberty law firm “Alliance Defending Freedom”. ADF is one of the groups who defends the rights of students on campus.

I found a profile of Alan in this Breitbart article.

It says:

Alan Sears is a committed Christian attorney who served in the Reagan administration, including in the Justice Department, who became increasingly concerned about the ACLU and its leftist allies’ success at sterilizing American life of every reference to God, faith, and biblical values. After returning to the private sector, he was recruited by more than thirty Christian leaders to start an organization that would build a nationwide network to fight for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage, and the rights of parents. The Alliance Defense Fund thus began in 1994.

Fifty years ago, references to faith were widespread in American life, where public prayers were common and official communications and presidential speeches would frequently cite the Bible or Christian belief, and such things were not controversial. Now the ACLU and far left has succeeded in giving us so many years of sterile secularism that it has become the new baseline. Many local school boards that once had to be sued by the ACLU to ban singing Christmas carols at a properly named Christmas Concert are now quite content to ban those carols on their own, and to order the concert renamed a Winter Concert.

Now the pendulum is swinging the other way. Instead of an ACLU lawyer suing that school on behalf of some militant atheist parent, now an ADF lawyer is suing the school for telling a Christian student that she cannot draw a picture of Jesus when she’s asked to draw someone who is important to her.

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Sears has built an organization that is every bit an equal to the ACLU. Its staff of roughly 200 employees includes dozens of lawyers, who coordinate the efforts of over 2,200 “allied attorneys” nationwide, in almost every state of the Union and more than a dozen countries around the globe. To date, these lawyers have contributed an astounding $141 million in pro bono legal work (yes, that means free of charge) to people and organizations involved in legal fights on ADF’s issues. These attorneys become part of the Alliance upon completing ADF’s weeklong legal training conference. (Full disclosure: I have attended this training academy twice—once as a lawyer in their legal track and once as a journalist in their media informational track.)

ADF also makes grants to support lawyers and scholars for their work on behalf of those issues of faith, life, marriage, and families. And its Blackstone Legal Fellowship program takes over 100 promising law students every year and treats them to nine weeks of excellent food and accommodations over the summer in exchange for spending their days in lectures and seminars on natural law, government, philosophy, and learning key legal doctrines, followed by six weeks of “field work,” to equip them for lifelong service of ADF’s mission-related issues in whatever field they end up pursuing in their career.

Something to think about if you are a young person. It’s a tough thing to make it through secular law school with your faith intact, but if you can, the benefits to all of us can be huge. It’s a high-risk, high-reward option for talented young Christians and conservatives to pursue.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Jennifer Roback Morse lectures to the Blackstone Legal Fellowship

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Two lectures from the great Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. One of my favorite scholars to listen to, and a great debater, as well.

Lecture one: Love and Economics

(June 13, 2014) Dr J traveled to Phoenix to participate in Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship, where she gave two talks. This is the first one, “Love and Economics,” on what marriage is and why we need it–stay tuned for the next one!

The MP3 file is here.

Lecture two: Defending Marriage

(June 13, 2014) Dr J traveled to Phoenix to participate in Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship, where she gave two talks. This is the second one, “Defending Marriage,” on why marriage matters and what has happened and will happen as it gets more and more redefined by the progress of the sexual revolution.

The MP3 file is here.

I was listening to these late at night, and when she said “you know Catholics aren’t good with Bible verses” at the beginning of lecture two, I howled with laughter. I’m sure the property manager is going to let me know not to howl with laughter after midnight. Oh well – it was hilarious. She is Catholic. I howled again when made a comment about chaste people over the age of 30, like me. It’s just FUN to listen to, but these are serious subjects.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Good news: Christian conservative professor wins discrimination case

From the ACLJ.

Excerpt:

Late last month a federal jury in North Carolina found that the University of North Carolina-Wilmington retaliated against conservative Christian professor Mike Adams when the university denied him a promotion to full professor. Rather than evaluating his work on the merits, the university denied his promotion in a process that was chock-full of deception, discrimination, and disorder.

The jury’s verdict was for liability only, with the judge to determine the lawful remedy. This afternoon, the judge ruled – holding that Dr. Adams was entitled to receive the promotion he was wrongly denied, the pay increase he was entitled to, and back pay to compensate him for lost income.

This ruling sends a message to public universities: academic freedom isn’t just for the Left, it’s a constitutional right for all professors — even Christian conservatives.

The ACLJ represents Dr. Adams, along with Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Travis Barham.

This is not the ACLJ’s only case in defense of conservative professors’ rights to academic freedom. We’ve also filed suit against officials at UCLA after they fired longtime Professor James Enstrom for blowing th whistle on junk environmental science and academic fraud.

The battles continue, and we remain committed to defending our fundamental freedoms – on campus and off.

Here is the bio for Barham:

Travis Barham serves as litigation staff counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom at its Regional Service Center in Georgia, where he litigates to preserve religious freedom and freedom of speech on college and university campuses across the nation. Barham joined Alliance Defending Freedom in 2006 and is a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 7th and 11th Circuits, and the state of Arizona. He is also admitted to federal district courts in Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Barham has practiced law since 2006 and earned his J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he graduated summa cum laude.

David French is no longer with ADF and is now with ACLJ. He has his JD from Harvard Law School, and taught at Cornell Law School, too.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is my favorite legal group for defending religious liberty. They seem to have a lot of lawyers with degrees from top universities. It’s encouraging for me to see Christians work so hard to be able to make a difference for us all. The ADF is also defending Hobby Lobby at the Supreme Court, and doing a great job by all accounts!

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Eastern Michigan University loses attempt to silence Christian graduate student

Good news from Alliance Defending Freedom.

Excerpt:

 Eastern Michigan University has agreed to settle an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit filed on behalf of Julea Ward, a graduate student whom the university expelled from a counseling program for abiding by her religious beliefs. As a result, a federal district court issued an agreed-uponorder of dismissal Monday.

Even though counseling referrals are a common and accepted professional practice, the university expelled Ward when she sought to avoid violating her religious beliefs by referring a potential client to another counselor. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in her favor.

“Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The 6th Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case,” said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, who argued before the court in October of last year. “When Julea sought to refer a potential client to another qualified counselor–a common, professional practice that is endorsed by her profession’s code of ethics–EMU denied the referral. Then it attacked and questioned her religious beliefs, ultimately expelling her from the program. We are pleased that Julea and her constitutionally protected rights have been vindicated.”

EMU initiated its disciplinary process against Ward shortly after she enrolled in a counseling practicum course in January 2009, when she was assigned a potential client seeking assistance regarding a sexual relationship that was contrary to Ward’s religious convictions. Ward recognized the potential conscience issue with the client and asked a supervisor how to handle the matter. The supervisor advised Ward to reassign the potential client to a different counselor. EMU then informed Ward that she could only stay in the counseling program if she agreed to undergo a “remediation” program. Its purpose was to help her “see the error of her ways” and change her “belief system” as it relates to counseling about homosexual relationships.

In a strongly worded opinion in Ward v. Wilbanks, the 6th Circuit reversed the district court decision in favor of the university and sent the case back for trial, saying, “a reasonable jury could conclude that Ward’s professors ejected her from the counseling program because of hostility toward her speech and faith….” Moreover, the decision notes, “A university cannot compel a student to alter or violate her belief systems based on a phantom policy as the price for obtaining a degree.”

When I read this story, it made me think of all the other students who went along quietly with whatever left-wing political correctness the university wanted to indoctrinate them with, just so they could pass and get their degrees. I don’t think it’s an accident that this happened in a non-STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field, either. That’s where the left is the strongest – in the areas of study that are the least rooted in reality.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

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