On this 4th of July weekend, we can take time to reflect on the freedoms we have in our nation, including freedom of religious expression, which was a foremost principle in the hearts and minds of our Founding Fathers - a careful reading of history will illustrate that faith and dependence on Almighty God were foundational principles for our nations, and God has repeatedly and consistently blessed our nation.
Freedom of religious expression is being threatened, and 2 of the 3 stories in this week's edition of "The 3" deal with that issue. Plus, there was the matter this week of the confirmation hearings for a potential new Supreme Court justice.
3 - Texas appeals court rules against principals who attempted to stifle free speech
Some new developments in the case of a Texas school district that has been charged with preventing the free expression of religion. It's being called the "Candy Cane Case", and it experienced what some could call a negative decision on Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court did not choose to hear the case on appeal. But, later in the week, a Federal appeals court ruled that 2 principals in the school district did in fact violate students' rights to free expression.
This case is rather complex, and involves a number of different instances, including the student who could not pass out candy canes at Chr....er, "winter" parties, along with an explanation of the significance of the canes, which is to illustrate the meaning of Jesus Christ's coming to earth. Another instance, I understand, involved the rights of students to include any sort of religious message in greetings to troops overseas.
Liberty Institute has been one of the principal organizations involved in the case, and provided this report on its website. Here is their statement on the recent ruling.
Also, the Dallas Morning News had this report on the events of this past week.
Read that article, and you see a stunning array of limitations of students' free speech rights in just one school district. Combine that with the multiple school districts in America that are involved to one degree or another with litigation on the topic of religious expression, and you see that districts have been intimidated into somehow thinking that students' rights to free expression have been compromised. But, when you see the high degree of cases being won by organizations such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel, and others, you see that the freedoms provided for in the Bill of Rights still stand, and that we remember that students do not surrender those rights when the enter school property.
2 - Supreme Court rules against Christian group on California law school campus
While the Supreme Court did not hear the appeal of the "Candy Cane Case", it did deliver a decision in a case related to religious liberty that it had heard earlier this session - what is known as Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez. In this case, a Christian organization on the Hastings law school campus in California was protesting the policy of the school that required it to accept as members those who do not necessarily adhere to the Christian faith, and to even allow non-Christians to serve in a leadership capacity.
As outrageous as this may seem, nevertheless, the Court, in a 5-4 decision upheld the law school's policy. Here is a report posted on the CitizenLink web site.
Apparently, the decision applied to Hastings only...It may be hard to project what the wide-ranging implications of this decision may be, since Hastings' policy does seem to be rather unique in educational circles, so the narrow decision may not have an effect on a school with a similar point of view.
1 - Kagan confirmation hearings fly by and leave unanswered questions
In just a 2-day period of questioning for prospective Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee attempted to use their line of questions to illustrate why Kagan is or is not qualified to serve on the high court. Some senators attempted to paint Kagan as an abortion advocate because of her role in drafting the abortion policy during the Clinton administration. Another area of concern has been her ban on military recruiting while she served as Dean of the Harvard Law School. Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the committee, also needled Kagan for attempting to defend the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as Solicitor General, while contending that it was the Obama Administration's intent to rescind it.
But, for some in the pro-life community, perhaps one of the most troubling aspects of Kagan's past is her attempt to actually write positions for medical organizations with respect to partial-birth abortion. This was shown in papers revealed just days before the confirmation hearings began, papers that had been slow to materialize from the Clinton Presidential Library. One such position, written presumably for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, which had struck down a ban on partial-birth abortion. LifeNews.com had this excellent analysis of Kagan's activist involvement on the abortion issue.
And, while Senators are declaring their support or opposition to Kagan, experts generally agree that she will have the votes to be confirmed and there will be no Senate filibuster to block her nomination.
Thousands of churches prepare for July 4 "Call 2 Fall"
FL school sued for banning Bible distribution
WI high court upholds gay marriage ban
Dr. Stanley calls for 140 Days of Prayer for our nation