April 2019 News Briefs
Jack Phillips Wins Again.
On March 5, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission announced that it was dismissing the most recent charges against cake artist Jack Phillips. The decision came after new evidence emerged that members of the Commission continued to show hostility towards Jack’s religious beliefs.
These new charges had come just months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2018 rebuke of the Commission for “clear and impermissible hostility” towards religion. Despite the strong seven-justice rebuke, two commissioners echoed the sentiments of a statement the Supreme Court had specifically
pointed to as evidence of hostility and, acting as a whistleblower, a commissioner informed a legislator of continued anti-religion bias on the Commission.
Covington Catholic Student Sues Media.
Nick Sandmann and other Covington Catholic High School students were made famous by a viral video appearing to show them confronting an elderly Native American in an apparent incident of racism.
After the media ran with the video and claims on Twitter, additional information revealed the situation to be more complicated and Americans became divided on their interpretation of the facts.
Sandmann’s legal team has now filed lawsuits against the Washington Post and CNN. They’ve also indicated that the Associated Press, NBC, and HBO may be next. The lawsuits claim that the media chose to take something right off Twitter instead of investigating or adhering to well-established journalistic standards and ethics.
Trump’s Pro-Life Rule Finalized.
President Trump’s “Protect Life Rule” was finalized on February 22.
Despite claims to the contrary, the rule does not reduce family planning funding. It simply directs the money to Title X centers which do not promote or perform abortions, including the growing number of community and rural health centers.
This means that Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, will lose nearly $60 million dollars a year in taxpayer funding. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld similar regulations in a 1991 case.
6th Circuit Allows Ohio to Defund Planned Parenthood.
A March 12 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowed Ohio to prohibit the use of certain funds from being used to: (1) Perform nontherapeutic abortions; (2) Promote nontherapeutic abortions; (3) Contract with any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions; (4) Become or continue to be an affiliate of any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions.
In addition to its national importance, Kentucky is directly impacted because it is within the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction. Planned Parenthood’s only possible remedy is an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Trump’s four appointments to the Sixth Circuit made the difference in this 11-6 decision.
Cross-Shaped War Memorial Before The U.S. Supreme Court.
The February 27 oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court provided a glimpse into the thinking of the justices as they weigh the fate of a nearly 100-year-old cross-shaped war memorial in Maryland. More than the fate of this specific memorial, court watchers are eager to see if the Court will implement a new test for Establishment Clause cases.
The current test for determining if the government has unconstitutionally established a religion is the Lemon Test. There’s just one problem . . . the test has long been disfavored. Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh even pointed out that the Court hasn’t used it in the past 40 years.
As Justice Gorsuch asked, “Is it time for this Court to thank Lemon for its services and send it on its way?” If so, what will the new test be?
Republican Wins Special Election for KY Senate.
With 52 percent of the vote, Republican Phillip Wheeler won the special election for Kentucky’s 31st Senate District on March 5. The district includes Pike, Martin, Lawrence, Elliot, and Morgan counties.
In a district where six in ten voters are registered Democrats, the election of a Republican is noteworthy. The decision by voters increases the Republican Party’s majority control of the Kentucky Senate to 29-9.
Kentucky Senate President Stivers released a statement congratulating Senator-elect Wheeler. Speaking for the Republican Majority leadership team, he said they were looking forward to having Wheeler “as a fighter for working families and Kentucky values in Frankfort as we keep working to make our Commonwealth a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
“Alive from New York”
In response to New York’s recent decision to practically legalize abortion up to birth for any reason, Focus on the Family will be hosting a sanctity of life event.
On May 4, “Alive from New York” will be held in Times Square. In addition to a live musical performance and several speakers, a doctor will perform a live 4D ultrasound on an unborn baby to show New York and the World that the child is alive.