Sunday, January 26, 2014

The 3 - January 26, 2014

On this week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, the contraception mandate garnered more action from the U.S. Supreme Court this week concerning a group of nuns, as the high court prepares to hear arguments in March involving two companies who have filed suit against the mandate.  There's also more news on the marriage front, with developments in two states concerning challenges to the traditional definition of marriage.  And, on this anniversary week of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, another large crowd gathered in Washington, DC, and pro-life people across America were involved in commemorating this dreadful anniversary by speaking out for life.

3 - U.S. Supreme Court offers further protection for group on nuns from contraception mandate

It was just hours before the end of 2013, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns from Colorado who serve elderly, impoverished people, were faced with paying fines because they did not wish to provide free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plan.   Their case had been turned back by a Federal appeals court, and their last hope was a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.   And, justice Sonya Sotomayor put the government mandate on hold and required the Obama Administration to respond within a matter of days.

Not unexpectedly, the Adminstration said that while the Sisters themselves were exempt, their insurance provider still was required to provide these drugs - so, in essence, they would still be involved in this objectionable practice.   Now, the high court has extended the temporary relief that was given at the end of 2013.

The WORLD website has a report, which says that the organization will be entirely exempt from the mandate pending a decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court wrote that, “If the employer applicants inform the Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing that they are nonprofit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, the respondents are enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit."

Court watchers were in the dark about what the justices were doing on this case leading up to Friday’s order. Sotomayor had asked the federal government to file a response to Little Sisters by Jan. 3, after which she would decide whether to extend her injunction. Weeks passed with nothing from the court.

The delay was apparently because Sotomayor had submitted the case to the full court’s consideration. The WORLD article reminds us that, "while religious liberty advocates will celebrate the decision, the high court said its order “should not be construed as an expression of the court’s views on the merits.”

2 - Marriage amendments facing challenges in Florida, Virginia

Recently, I reported to you about court action involving the marriage amendments in Utah and Oklahoma in which singular Federal judges had struck down the respective amendments.   Earlier this week, it was announced that an effort is underway to repeal the amendment in the state of Florida defining marriage as one man and one woman.  CitizenLink reports that six couples have filed suit to challenge the amendment, which was approved by 62 percent of Floridians in 2008.

Now, attorneys from the Equality Florida Institute claim it violates the U.S. Constitution.

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), called the challenge “nothing more than a publicity stunt.” He is quoted as saying, “Filed in Miami, it represents ‘forum shopping’ in the most liberal legal venue in the state...However, we are confident that Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi will provide a vigorous defense of Florida’s longheld law, and in doing so, will expose the radical views and overreaching legal positions set forth in today’s lawsuit.”  He said that his group will “vigorously defend” the amendment.

And, this week, the Attorney General of the state of Virginia announced that instead of defending the law of his state, a marriage amendment approved by 57 percent of the voters there in 2006, he would side with 2 gay couples who have filed suit against the amendment. A memorandum filed in court by his office this week said that Attorney General Mark R. Herring would side with the plaintiffs in the case.

It reads, according to CitizenLink, “Having duly exercised his independent constitutional judgment, the Attorney General has concluded that Virginia’s laws denying the right to marry to same-sex couples violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution...The Attorney General will not defend Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, will argue for its being declared unconstitutional, and will work to ensure that both sides of the issue are responsibly and vigorously briefed and argued to facilitate a decision on the merits, consistent with the rule of law.”

Interestingly enough, it has been reported that Herring, while a state senator, voted in favor of the same amendment that he is now refusing to defend.

1 - Scores join March for Life in D.C., events populate the landscape of America to affirm life

This past Wednesday marked the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, which, along with the companion decision, Doe vs. Bolton, resulted in legalized abortion in America.  Since then, it is estimated that over 56 million unborn children have lost their lives.   As National Right to Life reported this week, the rate of abortion has slowed, to around 1.1 million children per year, but that is an incredibly excessive amount, considering that the acceptable level would be "zero" unborn children dying. reported that hundreds of thousands of pro-life people turned out for the annual March for Life in Washington, braving cold temperatures to take a stand for the right to life of unborn children. While marchers mourned 41 years of legalized abortion, many sounded a hopeful theme for a pro-life future and think the decision will eventually be reversed.   This weekend, March for Life West Coast was held in San Francisco, and locally, in Montgomery, on Sunday, the annual Memorial Service for the Unborn took place at the gravesite of 18 aborted babies that were found in a dumpster.

As with other recent marches, the number of young adults and high school and college students impressed March for Life organizers and provided another reason to be optimistic.

CNN Blog post by Jake Tapper provided a behind-the-scenes look at the organizers of the March for Life.   The piece quotes the new president of the March for Life, Jeanne Monahan, who replaces Nellie Gray, who ran the march for some 40 years.   Monahan says, "Our theme this year is adoption, and that adoption is a noble decision for a birth mother.  She told CNN, "We're trying to do everything we can to encourage women who are facing an unexpected pregnancy to choose life."

The piece contends that under Monahan, the tone has changed, and that adoption organizers are hoping the new tone can help change deeply entrenched ideas about abortion.

Ryan Bomberger, an outspoken adoption advocate, is quoted as saying, "It really is a natural outgrowth of fighting for the human dignity of all human life...When we see far fewer percentage of women with unplanned pregnancies placing their children for adoption, or making a loving adoption plan, it should be a concern."

Monahan is reportedly hoping to build on the momentum to change the march into a year-round operation. The group brought on a full time Washington lobbyist to take their fight not to the Supreme Court, and to Congress.

Marchers got a boost from Pope Francis who tweeted his support from the Vatican, writing, "I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable."   The movement is attempting to broaden its participation by reaching out to evangelicals and other non-Catholic groups.

The Media Research Center lamented the lack of coverage for the March on broadcast television - it highlighted that ABC offered the March 24 seconds and NBC gave it 22 seconds, correctly noting the “huge turnout” despite brutal weather conditions. CBS didn’t bother to cover it at all.

Yet earlier this month, MRC points out that the networks lavished coverage on...the birth of the new panda cub at the National Zoo. They gave “Bao Bao” 4 minutes and 41 seconds, to be exact. The MRC report states, "Whereas tens of millions of dead human babies pry just a few seconds of grudging coverage, the single panda birth had network 'journalists' embarrassingly enthusiastic."

A leading media voice had a poignant commentary.  That would be Brit Hume of Fox News, who said, according to has given us an ever clearer picture of just how much of a baby a fetus is. At 20 weeks, we now know, these tiny creatures can hear, even recognize a mother’s voice. Their toenails are growing and their hearts beat loud enough to be heard by a stethoscope.

The moral case for allowing such beings to be killed grows ever weaker and its advocates resort to ever more absurd euphemisms to describe what they support. They’re not really pro-abortion, they’ve long said, they’re pro-choice. This isn’t about killing unborn babies. it’s about reproductive health. And the biggest chain of abortion clinics in the country refers to itself as Planned Parenthood.

In 2012, this organization says it carried out “abortion procedures” 329,445 times. Whatever that number represents, it’s not parenthood. These protesters here today understand that there is something deeply false and wrong about all this. They come each year to remind the rest of us.
The LifeSiteNews article referenced a blog post on the Washington Post website by Juliet Eilperin, which stated in part,
Both abortion rights advocates and foes agree that those seeking to curtail access to the procedure are winning. Fifty-three abortion restrictions were enacted into law in 2013, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the states where abortion opponents have unified control outnumber those dominated by abortion rights proponents by a ratio of 3 to 1. As a result, a slew of new requirements — on questions ranging from the point of a fetus's viability to whether a women seeking an abortion should be required to see an ultrasound before undergoing the procedure — are making it into law.
Eilperin also included a very telling graphic that shows the restrictions on abortion in each state.  She quotes Grazie Pozo Christie, a member of the Catholic Association's advisory board, who said that the combination of this political trend and the fact that many young people oppose abortion make it more socially acceptable to voice their views in public.

"People are more confident about being pro-life," she said in an interview, after attending the rally. "They're not ashamed of being on the other side."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The 3 - January 19, 2014

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, includes news on a court ruling potentially affecting pro-life pregnancy resource centers in New York City in a positive way.  Also, there is news out of a Federal court, where a single judge has struck down Oklahoma's marriage amendment, defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  The top story involves a major conference bringing together thousands of college students in Atlanta to unite and be challenged in their walk with Christ.

3 - Appeals court ruling helps pregnancy resource centers in New York

On Friday, a panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of a lower court order saying that New York City cannot force pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs telling women to go elsewhere.

CitizenLink has this report.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg had signed the law in spring 2011. It mandates these centers to post notices stating whether they provide referrals to abortion sellers. They must also state whether there is a licensed medical provider on staff. Failure to do so could result in fines of up to $1,000 the first day and up to $2,500 for each day after.

In summer 2011, a federal district court issued an order prohibiting the city from enforcing the ordinance. The city appealed that decision.

Matt Bowman, Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, is quoted as saying, “The district court’s order kept the city from enforcing the totality of its anti-speech ordinance, which some city officials designed to deter women from receiving the help they need to make fully informed choices about their pregnancy...The 2nd Circuit reinstated one provision of the ordinance, but did not provide any clarity as to whom it applies and when the city’s language must be recited. The district court was right about the vagueness of the entire ordinance. It should be completely invalidated.”

Bowman also said, “The appeals court rightly affirmed that the city cannot force pregnancy centers to communicate some city-crafted messages that encourage women to go elsewhere, but the court left one provision in place that still does that. Because this type of compelled speech is not constitutional, we are considering our options for appeal regarding the remaining provision of New York City’s ordinance.”

In this week prior to the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the legality of abortion, there were several developments on the pro-life front.   The high court heard oral arguments on a Massachusetts law that prevents sidewalk counselors from coming within 35 feet of an abortion clinic entrance.  And, the court agreed to hear a case from Ohio involving billboards that were erected by a pro-life group publicizing a Representative's support of the Affordable Care Act based on empty promises that it would not fund abortion.  And, from North Carolina, a Federal district judge struck down that state's provision that a woman obtain an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

In Congressional action, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would prevent Federal funds from being used for abortion - a move that was precipitated, at least in part, by the inclusion of taxpayer-funded abortion in the ACA.

2 - On heals of Utah ruling, another judge strikes down Oklahoma marriage amendment

On Tuesday, a Federal judge ruled that Oklahoma's marriage amendment, passed by three-fourths of voters, was unconstitutional.   According to, U. S. District Judge Terence Kern wrote, “The Court holds that Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution...Equal protection is at the very heart of our legal system and central to our consent to be governed. It is not a scarce commodity to be meted out begrudgingly or in short portions.”  He placed a stay on its enforcement pending appeal.

Oklahoma’s constitutional marriage amendment was approved by 76 percent of voters during the November 2004 election.  State regulations were first challenged in 2004 by four lesbian women, who renewed their lawsuit again in 2009.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin expressed disappointment, saying, "The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue...I support the right of Oklahoma’s voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, responded by saying, “This activist judge is overrunning both the constitution and the rule of law in a drive to fundamentally alter America’s moral, political and cultural landscape...He is substituting his own ideology for the three-quarters of Oklahomans who voted to preserve marriage in their constitution as it has always been defined.”

The decision comes about a month after a federal judge declared Utah’s ban on same-sex “marriage” unconstitutional.  He, nor the 10th Circuit, would stay that decision, but the U.S. Supreme Court did, and the appeal moves forward.  The Justice Department had said last week that it would recognize the greater than one thousand same-sex marriage licenses that had been granted in the state of Utah.

1 - Thousands of young adults gather for first of two Passion gatherings 

The first Passion gathering for 2014 took place over the weekend at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, a sold-out event attracting young adults ages 18-25.  The next one is scheduled for next month at the Toyota Center in Houston.

The Christian Post website reported that over 20,000 students attended the two-day event, representing over 1,200 universities and 33 countries.

Passion 2014 brought together several internationally renowned pastors, teachers and worship leaders. Joining Passion founders Louie and Shelley Giglio in Atlanta were John Piper, Christine Caine, and Francis Chan.  Worship was led Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder, Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker, Christy Nockels and Hillsong United.

Organizers insist that Passion is more than simply a conference or an event. Rather, it is a call for "saying goodbye to lesser things and saying yes to the One whose name is above every name," a theme that is stated on the Passion website and often echoed by the speakers.

Last year's event at the Georgia Dome drew some 60,000 participants, who raised a collective amount of over 3 million dollars to help curb human trafficking.   This year, people were asked to bring towels and socks to distribute to homeless shelters in the Atlanta area.

Instead of a single, massive Passion conference this year at one location - the Georgia Dome - multiple events will be held.   The Post reports that in addition to Atlanta and Houston, events will be staged in Dubai, Hyderabad and Delhi in India, Singapore, Manila, and Honolulu between March 20 and April 1.

It reports that, "Passion Conferences has been uniting college students around the world for the past 16 years, hosting 48 events in 16 countries. Since the first Passion Conference was held in 1997 in Austin, Texas, with 2,000 people, the movement has grown exponentially and hosted millions of university students at large-scale gatherings across the U.S. and around the world through nine conferences, four world tours and multiple one-day and regional events."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The 3 - January 12, 2014

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, includes more disturbing news out of the nation of Nigeria, where dozens of Christians lost their lives recently.   Also, the U.S. Supreme Court has placed a judge's ruling against Utah's marriage amendment on hold.  And, the top story - an advocacy group for persecuted Christians has released its latest list of the nations where Christians suffer the most persecution.

3 - Dozens slain in attack on Christians in Nigerian village

Some parts of the African nation of Nigeria cannot be considered safe places.  According to a report on the website, this past Monday, over 30 people were brutally murdered in an attack on Shonong, a Christian village in central Nigeria.  ASSIST News Service reports that the death toll is 33.

Islamic gunmen, believed to be from the Fulani ethnic group, opened fire on residents of Shonong village located in Nigeria's Plateau State, killing those unfortunate enough to be in the village at the time of the attack.

According to survivors, "hundreds of attackers" poured into the Christian village with automatic weapons, killing Christians they discovered still in the village proper. On top of the killings, 20 Christian homes were set ablaze and other private properties owned by Christians were either destroyed or stolen by the attackers.

Although this attack on Shonong village was devastating, many believe the death toll could have been much higher if not for the swift intervention of the police and Nigerian military.

Christian leaders in Nigeria suspect the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram is inciting the Fulani Muslims to attack Christians living in Nigeria's middle belt region. "From all indications, the terrorism being witnessed in the country is purely in pursuit of Jihad," Rev. Yiman Orkwar, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Makurdi in Benue State, told Morning Star News

And, ASSIST News reports that survivors of the Jan. 6 slaughter said Special Task Force (STF) soldiers stationed to protect them turned their weapons on those fleeing the attack.

According to a story by Morning Star News, speaking from her hospital bed with bullet wounds in her legs, Antele Alamba, 25, told the news agency that hundreds of Muslim Fulani herdsmen armed with guns and machetes attacked Shonong village in Riyom Local Government Area. They did so unprovoked, burning homes and butchering women and children.

2 - Utah halts gay marriages after U.S. Supreme Court puts lower court ruling on hold

This past Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that places on hold a ruling by a lower Federal court judge concerning gay marriage.  According to a report on the website, the judge had ruled on December 20 that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage violates gay and lesbian couples' constitutional rights. 

The state filed an emergency appeal, and the case went to the high court, which ruled that gay marriages cannot take place during the appeals process.  

Utah will not recognize the nearly 1,000 gay marriages performed in the state.

On Wednesday, the governor instructed state agencies to freeze all actions regarding same-sex marriages until a federal appeals court rules on the issue.

The Supreme Court's ruling will remain in effect until it decides whether to uphold the federal judge's decision. The court's order will not affect same-sex marriages already performed.

In an interesting twist, on Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Federal government would recognize the marriage licenses of same-sex couples in the state of Utah, even though the state said it would not.   Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation says in a piece on The Foundry blog on the Heritage website that Holder's announcement, "highlights the need for the federal government to respect state marriage laws. Just yesterday, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives that does just that."

He writes:
That legislation, the “State Marriage Defense Act of 2014,” HR 3829, requires the federal government to respect state laws on marriage. The Act requires the federal government to look to the laws of the state where citizens reside to determine the definition of “marriage.” It states that the term “marriage” shall “not include any relationship which that State, territory, or possession does not recognize as a marriage, and the term ‘spouse’ shall not include an individual who is a party to a relationship that is not recognized as a marriage by that State, territory, or possession.”
1 - Open Doors releases World Watch List; North Korea remains top persecutor of Christians

This week, the organization Open Doors, which advocates for the persecuted church worldwide, released its World Watch List, consisting of the 50 countries where Christians face the greatest amount of persecution. And, for the 12th straight year, the country of North Korea remains the world’s most restrictive nation in which to practice Christianity, according to a press release from Open Doors USA.

Dr. David Curry, Open Doors USA President/CEO is quoted as saying, “The 2014 WWL is the most comprehensive study of the systematic persecution of Christians ever done. Often completely unaddressed in the West is the fact that Christians are the largest persecuted minority in the world...Countries on the WWL, such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East and North Africa are targeting Christians; imprisoning, punishing, and even in some cases murdering people who choose to express privately or publicly their Christian faith. The 2014 WWL is a wake up call to Americans to become more aware of these atrocities and restrictions on religious freedom.”

Here are the top 10 nations on the List:
1) North Korea
2) Somalia
3) Syria
4) Iraq
5) Afghanistan
6) Saudi Arabia
7) Maldives
8) Pakistan
9) Iran
10) Yemen.
The List also shows a marked increase in persecution for Christian communities in states that are commonly regarded as “failed.” A failed country is defined “as a weak state where social and political structures have collapsed to the point where government has little or no control.” The World Watch List Top 10 contains six failed states: Somalia (#2), Syria (#3), Iraq (#4), Afghanistan (#5), Pakistan (#8) and Yemen (#10). Another newly failed, war-torn state – the Central African Republic (CAR) – made the list for the first time at #16. Libya (#13) and Nigeria (#14) remain very high.

And, the country of North Korea has been in the news this week, as the result of former NBA player Dennis Rodman's visit to the isolated country.  He seems to have struck up a friendship with the country's leader, and he enlisted the assistance of some other former pro basketball players to travel with him to the nation.   In an interview with CNN, Chris Cuomo asked Rodman about the plight of Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, who is in the prison in North Korea.  Rodman responded harshly, for which he later apologized.

According to, Rodman issued an apology surrounding his behavior, stating that alcohol and stress contributed to his outburst.

Bae's sister Terri Chung released a statement, saying:
“As Rodman has stated, being drunk and stressed is not an excuse for what he said, but we acknowledge he is human and we all do make mistakes...Our greatest concern remains the health and freedom of my brother Kenneth. We hope and pray that Rodman’s comments and ongoing antics have not further endangered my brother. Kenneth’s health and freedom are precarious.”
Bae operates a tourist company in Washington state and was arrested not far from the city of Yanji in November 2012, where some Christian groups provide aid to North Korean refugees. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor, and has been reportedly struggling with his health over the past year as his family has made several pleas for his release.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

The 3 - January 5, 2014

In this week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, the spotlight shines on California, where the count of signatures calling for a voter referendum on the co-ed bathroom bill that was passed in 2013 continues - a favorable court ruling this week provides that signatures from 2 counties will be counted, after being blocked by the Secretary of State.   Also, news out of California involves a teenager who has been declared "brain-dead", but her parents believe otherwise - she's been greenlighted to be moved out of an Oakland hospital.  And, with the HHS contraception mandate set to go into effect this past Wednesday, there were multiple court actions temporarily blocking the mandate for certain groups, including one ruling by a Supreme Court justice.

3 - California co-ed bathroom bill on hold, receives favorable court ruling in petition signature count

It has been stated that if you want to see what the rest of America might look like morally in a few years, just look to California.   And, when Governor Jerry Brown signed a co-ed bathroom bill earlier in 2013, he set off a moral firestorm, which has resulted in the original bill being on the verge of being placed on a referendum ballot later this year.  The group organizing the petition drive, Privacy for All Students, which had to collect a minimum of just north of 504,000 signatures in 90 days, is accusing the Secretary of State's office of stonewalling the petition count and misinforming the public by saying that the bill went into effect this past Wednesday, January 1st.

The group went to court against the Secretary's office, and according to its website,, in a strongly worded tentative ruling, a Sacramento Superior Court judge directed the California Secretary of State to count petitions submitted in two northern California counties for the referendum effort

The Secretary of State had refused to count signatures timely submitted in Tulare and Mono counties. Problems had resulted from the statutory filing deadline falling on a Sunday in the middle of a three day weekend.  Privacy For All Students arranged for courier delivery before the Sunday deadline in both counties. While each of the counties reported the signatures to State elections officials, the Secretary of State refused to count any of the signatures submitted in these counties.

The opinion, delivered by Judge Allen Sumner, concluded that PFAS actually had until Tuesday, November 12 to file the petitions, due to the weekend and the Monday holiday.

Karen England, a spokesperson for PFAS, said, “The process of collecting 504,760 valid signatures in 90 days is tough enough. But the Secretary of State seemed determined to shorten the time we were given wherever possible...We have slowly realized that the Secretary of State is not an unbiased referee in this process but an advocate for the co-ed bathroom law.”

Nearly 620,000 signatures presented in support of the referendum are being validated in a joint process by the counties and the State.   Presentation of those signatures in November suspended the implementation of the law. However, officials at the office of the Secretary of State are erroneously advising that the law became effective on January 1.  PFAS is advising school personnel that the law was suspended based on the presentation of the signatures and that the law will only go into effect if the signatures are determined to be inadequate or the voters approve the law on the November ballot.

2 - Parents attempt to intervene on behalf of teenager declared "brain-dead"

Jahi McMath is a 13-year old girl in California who was left in an incapacitated state in the aftermath of a tonsillectomy in December.  Even though she has been declared "brain-dead" by medical professionals, her mother and family insist that she is still alive, and so far, have received positive court orders to continue life support for the girl. reports that after a protracted legal battle, Children’s Hospital Oakland on Friday reached an agreement with Jahi’s family to allow a medical team to enter the hospital to perform the procedures necessary to move her to a medical facility that will continue her care and treatment.

The family in the case also claims that the hospital has been starving Jahi for three weeks, a charge which the hospital denies.
The San Francisco Chronicle is quoted in the piece as saying:
Under the agreement, Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, is “wholly and exclusively responsible for Jahi McMath the moment custody is transferred in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit and acknowledge(s) that she understands that the transfer and subsequent transport could pact the condition of the body, including causing cardiac arrest.”
The agreement was supervised by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo, who refused the family’s request to require doctors from the hospital or an outside physician to insert a feeding tube and a tracheostomy tube on Jahi.  

The family insists that Jahi is alive and that there is hope for recovery because her heart continues to beat and she remains on a ventilator, which will be kept on as she is moved. reports that pediatrician Dr. Paul A. Byrne told a local television station he does not believe that brain death is “true death” and said, with “proper nutrition and care,” McMath can have meaningful recovery to the degree that she would not meet the “brain death” criteria.

1 - Enforcement of HHS contraception mandate put on hold for some organizations 

With the approach of the Jan. 1, 2014 effective date for non-profit religious organizations to comply with the mandate that employers provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans, three circuit courts and a Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday ruled on motions for injunctions pending appeals by non-profits who had lost at the district court level.

According to the Religion Clause website, here are those instances:
The 7th Circuit denied Notre Dame University's emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal, but ordered expedited briefing and oral argument.
The 10th Circuit denied Little Sisters of the Poor's emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal.  However late in the evening, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement, and ordered a response by the federal government by 10:00 a.m. on Friday.
Also, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 2-1 vote, granted emergency motions for injunctions pending appeal filed by Priests for Life and by various plaintiffs  in the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington case (Thomas Aquinas College was exempted).   The court ordered the two cases combined for appeal.

In the case that went before Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, the Department of Justice, in its response, according to CitizenLink, argued that the Little Sisters of the Poor could be exempted from the mandate if they sign a government form that delegates the action to a third party. Refusing to do so could result in steep fines.  Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, is quoted as saying, “Unfortunately, the federal government has started the new year the same way that it ended the old one: trying to bully nuns into violating their religious beliefs."  Rienzi said that the DOJ's brief " devoted to trying to keep the Court out of the issue, which would leave hundreds of religious organizations subject to massive fines for following their religion.”