secularists

Virginia News Stand: May 21, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Up In Smoke

Admittedly, it is too easy, but given the day's very unusual story, what else to entitle today's comments? Meanwhile, at State Police headquarters today, a memorial service was held and a chaplain prayed in Jesus' name — and we're still here! Amazing how that works. It never ceases to amaze me how the very vocal minority secularists think — demand — that once a person gets elected to public office, or goes to work in a governmental capacity, that person loses all of his or her religious liberty.

Speaking of religious freedom, make that intolerance, a New York boy was suspended from school for wearing Rosary Beads. The details are at the Fresh Ink Blog. In Commentary, David Limbaugh writes on the Obama administration's media control which, combined with its Orwellian NewSpeak regarding the economy (bad now is good) is creepy as Matt Towery explains, and Frank Salvato tells the GOP that if  you win back Congress, the status quo will not be tolerated. Michael Reagan explores the Tea Party and Kay Daly has two pieces examining Elena Kagan.

Have a good weekend while you rest assured the world will be here Monday. Even if state troopers are praying in public.

News

Prayer at state police service mentions Jesus, other faiths (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Identity theives buy pot with Sen. Saslaw's credit card (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Pot bought with Virginia lawmaker's American Express card (ABCNews10, Sacramento/News10.net)

Anti-abortion fetus dolls handed out to Norfolk students (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Cuccinelli says his office wants to protect environment (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Landes: Health reform has many hidden costs (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

GOP to pick 9th District candidate (Bristol Herald Courier)

Group: No complaints about Liberty regarding Lynchburg’s elections (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Democrats cheer as Mexico's Calderon criticizes state immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Maine Sen. Snowe lauds high court nominee Kagan (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Dem family feud could cost party Hawaii seat (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Consumer watchdog eyes lenders in new bank rules (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

AZ Gov. Brewer, 'Mr. President, Secretary Napolitano — Do Your Job!' (Fresh Ink Blog GOPUSA.com)

Obama's Choreographed Media Blackout (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

It Simply Cannot Return to the Status Quo (Frank Salvato/GOPUSA.com)

Economic Recovery Is All Greek to Me (Matt Towery/GOPUSA.com)

How Would You Like Your Tea — Sweetened or Unsweetened? (Michael Reagan/GOPUSA.com)

Princeton PULLED DOWN Elena Kagan's thesis. . . (Kay Daly/Fresh Ink Blog GOPUSA.com)

A SCOTUS nomination in trouble? 39% FOR, 39% AGAINST (Kay Daly/Fresh Ink Blog GOPUSA.com)

Teen to be suspended for . . . Rosary beads? (Fresh Ink Blog GOPUSA.com)

Nancy Pelosi: Bring it on! (Fresh Ink Blog GOPUSA.com)

The Shady ShoreBank Bailout (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Banning the Veil (Linda Chavez/GOPUSA.com)

Religious Liberty At Stake In Supreme Court, Fourth Circuit Cases

It seems like every day we hear about another assault on our First Amendment right to free religious exercise. From the silencing of prayers at high school graduations and government meetings to nondiscrimination policies intended to thwart religious activity, the message of leftist elites is clear — you can believe what you want (for now) but keep it to yourself. It makes us all the more thankful that we have advocates like the Alliance Defense Fund on our side. Yesterday, The Family Foundation joined ADF to co-host a luncheon briefing for attorneys and pastors on a religious liberty case that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next Monday. This case (Christian Legal Society v. Martinez) arose when the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco denied recognition to CLS, including equal meeting space and most means of communicating on campus. The reason? Although CLS welcomes everyone to all its events, CLS would not agree to eliminate its Statement of Faith requirement for officers and its voting members.

Hastings deemed CLS' Statement of Faith and its interpretation that Christians should not engage in extramarital sexual activity to violate the religion and sexual orientation portions of its nondiscrimination policy. Hastings has since interpreted its rule as prohibiting all groups from excluding anyone from voting membership or leadership on the basis of beliefs of any kind. The Ninth U.S. Circuit of Appeals, widely recognized as the most radical appeals court in the country, upheld Hastings' decision in a two sentence, unpublished decision.

Casey Mattox, legal counsel to the Alliance Defense Fund, and co-counsel on this case alongside CLS attorneys, told luncheon attendees about the impact this case may have on university campuses as well as the far-reaching impact it may have on any Christian ministry. In essence, if the left gets its way, any organization or church that receives state support — including tax exempt status — would be discriminated against if it does not accept behaviors that are contrary to their beliefs.

At the same time, The Family Foundation is working with ADF in seeking legislators who will sign onto amicus briefs it has drafted in a religious liberty case in Forsyth County, N.C. There, a lower court decreed that all prayers at government meetings must be so-called "non-sectarian." If the lower court is not overturned by the Richmond-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, it could mean that — for the first time in American history — prayers offered before sessions of legislatures, city councils, and all other public bodies in at least the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, must be censored to exclude all references to a particular deity (e.g., Jesus). The lower court opinion ignores the instruction of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal appellate and district courts that previously considered this issue and upheld the cherished American tradition of uncensored legislative prayer.

Meanwhile, our policy team is focusing much of our summer research efforts on how we can best protect our First Amendment right to religious expression through the legislative process. We still have yet to see the General Assembly remedy the situation for state police chaplains who remain prohibited from praying publically according to their beliefs, and too many of our local governments have censored prayers at their meetings under the bullying of radical secularists at the ACLU. This must stop.

It is safe to say that our constitutionally protected right to freely exercise our faith in public is in peril. For many of our political leaders the Constitution itself is a nuisance. We must continue to work to ensure that the rights of all religious Americans are protected — and we will.

Virginia Renewal Project Recap

Since we brought up pastors events and Winning Matters 2009 last post, we thought we'd review a major event that we had a hand in from earlier this month that, in essence, was a launch to the whole idea of more civic activism from people with a Biblical perspective. The Virginia Renewal Project took place at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel on June 4 and 5, and you know it was an important event when certain groups raised hackles about it

More than 450 pastors from across Virginia attended, and represented every denomination and ethnicity. The hotel's grand ballroom was packed as speakers such as historian David Barton, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke of the need to return America to its Godly heritage. 

Barton was especially moving as he related how the Founding Fathers all gave credit for their inspiration to the pastors of the day. We often hear that the Founders were a bunch of  deists and secularists, but Barton's research and documentation convincingly proves what used to be a common notion taught in America — that this nation was founded primarily by Christians on Judeo-Christian principles. 

Pastors at the conference were encouraged to engage the culture and make a difference by being salt and light in all arenas, even in the political realm.  They were told that despite the threats of the ACLU and People for the American Way, no church has ever lost its tax-exempt status. Everyone left encouraged and inspired to make a difference in our Commonwealth and in our nation.

It's Official: It's "Merry Christmas" After All

Despite what the secularists, liberal media and politically correct authoritarians claim, shove at us and demand, an overwhelming amount of Americans, from all political backgrounds, prefer to say and be greeted with "Merry Christmas" rather than the offensive "happy holidays." In fact, in a recent poll by Opinion Dynamics for Fox News (see here), most people are offended when others offer the "happy holidays" greeting, despite the years-long attempt by the above culprits to indoctrinate the public and dilute the culture with the "appropriateness" of using that slogan, so as to not "offend" anyone. As it turns out, it does offend people — the vast majority who understand that this holiday is a Holy Day and who have never bought into the secular left propaganda that has tried to strip it of its meaning (see this short blog post from Wilson Research Strategies). Overall, 77 percent of the public prefers "Merry Christmas," the same number as independents, while Republicans prefer it by 87 percent and Democrats by 69 percent. So, where's the basis for the "you will offend people by saying 'Merry Christmas' hogwash"? 

It has always been a cheap canard and always will be. Now, in perhaps the most politically left age of the Republic, we still see people holding on to their core religious values. So much for the secularists.