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Friday, March 23, 2007

ACLU Pushes To Stop All Prayer By Local Louisiana School Board; Thomas More Law Center Submits Brief In Opposition

March 21, 2007

ANN ARBOR, MI (christiansunite.com) -
A local Louisiana school board continued to battle the ACLU's efforts to ban its 30 year practice of opening its meetings with an invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2005, a federal district court judge sided with the ACLU and banned all school board prayers. The judge's decision was later affirmed by a 3-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, the entire panel of sixteen active judges of the Fifth Circuit will rehear the case.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has submitted a friend of the court brief supporting the Tangipahoa Parish School Board in Louisiana. The school board has been engaged in this 4 year legal battle with the ACLU over the right to open its meetings with prayers.

The ACLU sued the Board in 2003 on behalf of the parent of two high school students. The federal trial judge, Helen Ginger Berrigan, determined that the school board was violating the Establishment Clause and permanently enjoined the school board from opening its meetings with any prayer. (Judge Berrigan was President of the ACLU of Louisiana before President Clinton had appointed her a federal judge.)

This article will give you some indication of judge Berrigan's character and professionalism, which is then followed up by a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct, resulting in censure and discipline.

V. Conclusions

"A reasonable person would question the impartiality of any judge who was an adjunct faculty member at a defendant university and had a continuing association with that university during even part of the time the case was before him or her. Under Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Judge Berrigan had a duty to disclose her association with Tulane before sitting in any case in which Tulane was a defendant. Judge Berrigan's failure to make any disclosure of her direct, substantive, and continuing association with the defendant over the course of four years as Presiding Judge must be seen as a breach of judicial conduct that goes beyond mere negligence or harmless error; it suggests that she had an interest in the outcome of the procedings that derived from her relationship with the defendant.

Judge Berrigan's censure and/or discipline appears warranted and appropriate."

She had no business sitting as a judge in the Tangipahoa Parish School Board case.

What is really upsetting the ACLU is that the school board asks for Divine guidance and uses such phrases as "God," "Heavenly Father," and "Jesus."

According to Richard Thompson, Chief Counsel and President of the Thomas More Law Center, "If the ACLU believes that public prayer is un-American and must be stopped, I wonder how they would have stopped the prayers of our Founding Fathers as they deliberated on the establishment of our nation."

Continued Thompson, "The ACLU's claim that they are merely attempting to stop Christian indoctrination of students is nonsense. What they are attempting to do is promote their own brand of religion˜atheism or secular humanism."

The brief, authored by Law Center trial counsel Edward L. White III, argued that under Louisiana law, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board is a deliberative body designed to act in the public interest. As a deliberative body, the United States Supreme Court's Marsh decision permits the school board to open its meetings with a prayer just as any other deliberative body may do.

This invocation that was delivered at a February 2003 Tangipahoa Parish School Board meeting: "Heavenly Father, we thank you for the many blessings we received. We thank you for our health. We thank you for our strength. We thank you for our peace of mind. We thank you for allowing us to assemble here tonight, and we ask that you give this board and our superintendent all the wisdom and knowledge, and the understanding they need to make the correct decision for our students and for our parents."

While the prayer asked for protection for the president and the troops, it concluded by thanking God "for the greatest gift of all - your son, Jesus Christ."

According to White, "We have brought to the Fifth Circuit's attention numerous prayers said to open sessions of the United States House of Representatives, also a deliberative body, that are no different in substance to the prayers said to open Tangipahoa Parish School Board meetings. If the law permits the House of Representatives to open its sessions with prayer, then the law should also permit the school board to open its meetings with similar prayers."

"I ran a search of the Congressional Record and found almost identical language in the prayers given before the opening of the House of Representatives," stated White. White also argues that Judge Berrigan erred in rendering her opinion because Louisiana state law defines school boards as a deliberative body.
"A deliberative body is just like a legislature," stated White, "and the Supreme Court has ruled that deliberative bodies can open their sessions with a prayer."

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit their website at www.thomasmore.org.

Jay filed a post on this in Dec. of last year in which Joe Cook, the executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, dubbed the board’s allowance of prayer "un-American and immoral" and in this article Cook was quoted "They believe that they answer to a higher power, in my opinion. Which is the kind of thinking that you had with the people who flew the airplanes into the buildings in this country, and the people who did the kind of things in London."

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

District gags 14-year-olds after 'gay' indoctrination

'Confidentiality' promise requires students 'not to tell their parents'

Posted: March 13, 2007

By Bob Unruh
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Officials at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Ill., have ordered their 14-year-old freshman class into a "gay" indoctrination seminar, after having them sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to tell their parents.

"This is unbelievable," said Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues for Concerned Women for America. "It's not enough that students at Deerfield High are being exposed to improper and offensive material relative to unhealthy and high-risk homosexual behavior, but they've essentially been told by teachers to lie to their parents about it."

It should be pointed out that minors can't enter into a binding contract. Therefore, "confidentiality agreements" are illegal, worthless and total BS.

It also shows that the school knew what it was doing was wrong, just by the fact that they wanted to keep it from the parents.

In what CWA called a "shocking and brazen act of government abuse of parental rights," the school's officials required the 14-year-olds to attend a "Gay Straight Alliance Network" panel discussion led by "gay" and "lesbian" upperclassmen during a "freshman advisory" class which "secretively featured inappropriate discussions of a sexual nature in promotion of high-risk homosexual behaviors."

"This goes to the heart of the homosexual agenda," Barber said. "The professional propagandists in the 'gay-rights' lobby know the method all too well. If you can maintain control of undeveloped and impressionable youth and spoon-feed them misinformation, lies and half-truths about dangerous, disordered and extremely risky behaviors, then you can control the future and ensure that those behaviors are not only fully accepted, but celebrated."

He said not only is forcing students to be exposed to the pro-homosexual propaganda bad enough, but then school officials further required that students sign the "confidentiality agreement" through which they promised not to tell anyone – including their own parents – about the seminar.

Barber said that also aligns with the goals of the disinformation campaign being run by those in the pro-homosexual camp. "That's what homosexual activists from GSA are attempting to do, and that's what DHS is clearly up to as well."

The situation, according to district Supt. George Fornero, was partly "a mistake."

He told CWA, the nation's largest public policy women's organization, that requiring children to sign the confidentiality agreement wasn't right and the district would be honest with parents in the future about such seminars. But CWA noted that even after the district was caught, parents still were being told they were not welcome to be at the "freshman advisory" and they were not allowed to have access to materials used in compiling the activist curriculum.

Barber noted the damage being done is significant.

"Until DHS and other government schools across the country are made to stop promoting the homosexual agenda, kids will continue to be exposed to – and encouraged to participate in – a lifestyle that places them at high risk for life-threatening disease, depression and spiritual despair," he said.

It's not the first situation where WND has reported on schools teaching homosexuality to children.

In Massachusetts after a school repeatedly advocated for the homosexual lifestyle to students in elementary grades, several parents sued, only to have the federal judge order the "gay" agenda taught to the Christians.

The conclusion from U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf found that it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.

Wolf essentially adopted the reasoning in a brief submitted by a number of homosexual-advocacy groups, who said "the rights of religious freedom and parental control over the upbringing of children would undermine teaching and learning"

David and Tonia Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, who have children of school age in Lexington, Mass., brought the lawsuit. They alleged district officials and staff at Estabrook Elementary School violated state law and civil rights by indoctrinating their children about a lifestyle they, as Christians, teach is immoral.

"Wolf's ruling is every parent's nightmare. It goes to extraordinary lengths to legitimize and reinforce the 'right' (and even the duty) of schools to normalize homosexual behavior to even the youngest of children," said a statement from the pro-family group Mass Resistance.

An appeal of that decision is pending.

The judge concluded that even allowing Christians to withdraw their children from classes or portions of classes where their religious beliefs were being violated wasn't a reasonable expectation.

"An exodus from class when issues of homosexuality or same-sex marriage are to be discussed could send the message that gays, lesbians, and the children of same-sex parents are inferior and, therefore, have a damaging effect on those students," he opined.

"Under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy," the judge wrote. "Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation."

And, he said, since history "includes instances of official discrimination against gays and lesbians it is reasonable for public educators to teach elementary school students different sexual orientations."

If they disagree, "the Parkers and Wirthlins may send their children to a private school [or] may also educate their children at home," the judge said.

Parents fume over salacious sex lesson

'State interest' argued in teaching homosexuality

To the above, I can only add; Impeachment of Federal Judges

The ACLU fully supports the homosexual agenda in our schools.

As a Result of Lawsuit, School Agrees to Allow Publication of Articles on Sexual Orientation

ACLU Asks Judge to Reopen Kentucky Gay-Straight Alliance Case

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 200 blogs already on-board.

Crossposted at Stop the ACLU

Friday, March 09, 2007

Divided 3 Judge panel holds that D.C.'s gun control laws violate individuals' Second Amendment rights

Good news from Howard Bashman at How Appealing

BREAKING NEWS -- Divided three-judge D.C. Circuit panel holds that the District of Columbia's gun control laws violate individuals' Second Amendment rights: You can access today's lengthy D.C. Circuit ruling at this link.

According to the majority opinion, "[T]he phrase 'the right of the people,' when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual." The majority opinion sums up its holding on this point as follows:

To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.

The majority opinion also rejects the argument that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a State. And the majority opinion concludes, "Section 7-2507.02, like the bar on carrying a pistol within the home, amounts to a complete prohibition on the lawful use of handguns for self-defense. As such, we hold it unconstitutional."

Senior Circuit Judge Laurence H. Silberman wrote the majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith joined. Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented.

Judge Henderson's dissenting opinion makes clear that she would conclude that the Second Amendment does not bestow an individual right based on what she considers to be binding U.S. Supreme Court precedent requiring that result. But her other main point is that the majority's assertion to the contrary constitutes nothing more than dicta because the Second Amendment's protections, whatever they entail, do not extend to the District of Columbia, because it is not a State.

This is a fascinating and groundbreaking ruling that would appear to be a likely candidate for U.S. Supreme Court review if not overturned first by the en banc D.C. Circuit.

Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy has a legaleagle's opinion of the ruling.

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times," Tony Mauro has a post titled "D.C. Circuit Strikes Down D.C. Gun Control Laws."

Free Republic has it posted from bashman's site: DC Circuit strikes down DC gun law

Crossposted from Stop the ACLU

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