In the Chain of Human Events


Save The Peace Cross

 

Intro to ‘In the Chain of Human Events

John R. Houk

Intro date: 11/20/17

By Justin O. Smith

 

Justin Smith writes about Secular Humanist atheists winning a 4th Circuit Appellate Court case against Veterans that demanded the Peace Cross in Bladensburg, MD be removed from public property because it is just too Christian for those subscribing to what is essentially a Humanist religion that denies the existence of God Almighty the Creator.

 

Here are a couple of Secular Humanist quotes that the 4th Circuit essentially embraced:

 

“There is no place in the Humanist worldview for either immortality or God in the valid meanings of those terms. Humanism contends that instead of the gods creating the cosmos, the cosmos, in the individualized form of human beings giving rein to their imagination, created the gods.” (Corliss Lamont, The Philosophy of Humanism, (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1982) p. 145.)

 

“The classroom must and will become an area of conflict between the old and the new— the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery and the new faith of Humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian idea of ‘Love thy Neighbor’ will finally be achieved.” (John J. Dunphy, “A Religion for a New Age,” The Humanist, January/February 1983, 26.)

 

Both of these quotes are found on the PDF: WORLDVIEW-SECULAR HUMANISM FACT SHEET; Summit Ministries; © 2016 – 2 pgs.)

 

SEE ALSO:

 

Conservapedia: Humanism

 

Conservapedia: Secular humanism

 

JRH 11/20/17

Please Support NCCR

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In the Chain of Human Events

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 11/18/2017 7:36 PM

 

To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields” — Lt Colonel John McCrae / Second Battle of Ypres

 

The forty foot tall Peace Cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, at the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and US Alternative Route 1 and just five miles from the U.S. Supreme Court, in the Court’s cross-hairs, is the object of the American Civil Liberties Union’s and atheists’ hatred, along with their hatred for many other inherently Christian Latin crosses in America, and it is also the source of incoherent confusion for too many federal judges. If the American people do not battle most fiercely to reverse the 4th Circuit Court’s recent ruling on October 18th, that found the Peace Cross presence on public land to be unconstitutional, these anti-American groups will boldly continue their purge of anything in the public square that remotely resembles religion; and, liberty and freedom cannot long survive, unless Americans once and for all definitively crush these advocates of a public arena free from God.

 

Started in 1918 and completed in 1925 using contributions from private donors and the American Legion, the Peace Cross honors 49 men from Prince George’s County, who died in WWI. It was erected on July 13th, 1925, and it has stood as a memorial and a gathering place for the community for 92 years, inscribed with the words VALOR, ENDURANCE, COURAGE and DEVOTION.

 

A two-to-one vote by a three judge panel overturned the Maryland District Court’s previous 2015 decision, that the use of a cross as a military symbol of courage, sacrifice and remembrance, does not mean the state sponsors a particular religion. The plaintiffs, American Humanist Association (AHA), alleged that the cross unconstitutionally endorsed Christianity, and the Court determined the memorial “excessively entangles the government in religion”, as they justified their decision through the fallacious notion of “separation of church and state”.

 

Chief Justice Roger Gregory wrote the dissent [***Blog Editor: Entire Dissent Below] and noted that the Establishment Clause does not require “purging” religion from the public square, but requires only governmental “neutrality” on religion. He added, “In my view, the court’s ruling confuses maintenance of a highway median and a monument in a state park with excessive religious entanglement.”

 

The First Amendment [Faith-Freedom.com & Wallbuilders] compels government not to eradicate religion from the public arena, and although it forbids the establishment of a state religion, it doesn’t forbid the sponsorship of religion. If the expression of religious beliefs is an inherent God-designed part of human nature, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, then government acting to remove religion from the public square would have seemed to our Founding Fathers to be acting in a manner antithetical to our founding principles.

 

Even should the Peace Cross be solely a Christian symbol and not also a war memorial, the argument offered by the AHA is quite a stretch. Establishing a state religion is a deliberate act by the government, as in the manner the world witnessed the USSR implement militant atheism. It doesn’t happen through scattered memorials, that were erected by private groups long ago to remember the fallen.

 

However, the courts have not been consistent on this issue. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the five foot cross erected in 1934 on Sunrise Rock, in the Mojave National Reserve, and also honoring Veterans, did not violate the Constitution; but in 2012, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s notion that the 43 foot tall Mount Soledad Memorial Cross, in La Jolla, California, was a violation of the First Amendment.

 

The Bladensburg Peace Cross, listed in the National Registry of Historical Places, is one of the few WWI monuments in the United States. It was erected during a time when the Cross was a commonly understood symbol of suffering, sacrifice and hope.

 

When exactly did the Peace Cross begin to violate the Constitution? Never.

 

In 92 years, the Cross remained unchanged, but America’s judges became intolerant activists after the 1947 Everson case. Leftist activist judges at all levels of the judiciary, who wallow in a sewer of anti-Americanism, have advanced the flawed premises of the anti-Christian bigots from groups like the AHA, and they have violated the Constitution in impermissible fashion, by interfering with the free exercise rights of people, who simply sought to acknowledge their Christian heritage and honor their war dead.

 

The First Liberty Institute and other defenders of the Peace Cross fear, that if the 4th Circuit refuses their request for the full court to reconsider the case, a dangerous precedent will be set. This will endanger other national treasures, such as the 24 foot Cross of Sacrifice, which was a gift from Canada that has stood in Arlington Cemetery for 90 years. The Argonne Cross, also at Arlington, marks the graves of more than two thousand Americans, whose remains were interred in 1920 from battlefield cemeteries in Europe.

 

The American Humanist Association has also sued the city of Pensacola, Florida over a cross that has stood in Bayview Park for 75 years, built on the eve of WWII. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward describes the cross as “an integral part of my town’s fabric, a symbol to our local citizens — religious and nonreligious — of our proud history of coming together during hard times.” This case is on its way to the 11th Circuit Court.

 

Immediately after the October 18th ruling against the Peace Cross, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wrote a letter to his attorney general directing him to support a legal challenge against the ruling. In part it read: “The conclusion that this memorial honoring Veterans violates the (Constitution’s) Establishment Clause offends common sense, is an affront to all Veterans, and should not be allowed to stand. I believe very strongly, that this cherished community memorial does not violate the Constitution. Your office will be Maryland’s legal voice in this important litigation.

 

While it may seem like a win each time a legal team saves one of these crosses, by illustrating its importance as a war memorial and settling for a land transfer, as performed by Congressman Duncan Hunter in the Mount Soledad Cross case, rejecting the distinct religious value the Cross has traditionally held in Christianity is not the proper direction. Our soldiers died protecting the rights that are defining characteristics of our democratic Republic and, specifically, our First Amendment. And with our religious liberties central to this issue, Congress must provide clarity to an establishment jurisprudence in shambles.

 

The idea that the public display of a Christian cross on public land should be forbidden is deeply anti-American. Our country’s topography is indelibly marked by crosses, so where does this all end for the AHA and militant atheists in their unhinged agenda to remove any semblance of religious symbolism from the public sphere?

 

Where will the atheists ever draw the line?

 

Regardless of who likes it or not, America was founded by a people, who were 98 percent Christian well into the 19th Century, and they intended America to be a Christian nation tolerant of all other religions. The first calls for America’s independence, in 1769, were issued by a group of young writers from Yale College, who were fiercely Christian, led by John Trumbull and Timothy Dwight.

 

John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. president, wrote: “In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked to the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human governance upon the first precepts of Christianity.”

 

George Washington declared: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

 

This attack on the Peace Cross is also an attack on America and an attempt to undermine the idea of America, predicated on each individual’s inherent right that lies deep within our heart and soul to have individual recourse to a power greater than the state. This is a war against our Christian faith and our shared memories that we must win, if we wish to prevent America’s descent toward the darkest days of antiquity and preserve for America’s Children the Heritage of Liberty our Founding Fathers left for us.

 

By Justin O. Smith

______________________

*** Chief Judge Roger Gregory dissent begin page 34 of PDF

 

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

No. 15-2597

 

AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION; STEVEN LOWE; FRED EDWORDS; BISHOP MCNEILL, — Plaintiffs – Appellants,

 

v.

 

MARYLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION, — Defendant – Appellee,

 

THE AMERICAN LEGION; THE AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT OF MARYLAND; THE AMERICAN LEGION COLMAR MANOR POST 131, — Intervenors/Defendants – Appellees,

 

=================

 

[Blog Editor: Chief Judge Roger Gregory dissent begin page 34 of PDF]

 

GREGORY, Chief Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part:

 

I agree with the majority’s holding that Appellants have standing under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to bring this action for a violation of the Establishment Clause. But I disagree with the majority’s ultimate conclusion that the display and maintenance of the war memorial in this case violates the Establishment Clause. I therefore respectfully dissent in part.

 

I.

 

The Establishment Clause provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” U.S. Const. amend. I. To properly understand and apply the Establishment Clause, it must be viewed “in the light of its history and the evils it was designed forever to suppress.” Everson v. Bd. of Educ., 330 U.S. 1, 14–15 (1947). The early colonization of America was a time marked with religious persecution. Immigrating settlers fled religious suppression in Europe only to be met with similar treatment in America. “[M]en and women of varied faiths who happened to be in a minority in a particular locality were persecuted because they steadfastly persisted in worshipping God only as their own consciences dictated.” Id. at 10. Those regarded as nonconformists were required “to support government-sponsored churches whose ministers preached inflammatory sermons designed to strengthen and consolidate the established faith by generating a burning hatred against dissenters.” Id.

 

The Establishment Clause was intended to combat the practice of “compel[ling individuals] to support and attend government favored churches.” Id. at 8; accord Myers v. Loudoun Cty. Pub. Sch., 418 F.3d 395, 402 (4th Cir. 2005). The Clause’s historical setting reveals that “[i]ts first and most immediate purpose rested on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion.” Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 431 (1962). The realization of its goal meant that the government must “‘neither engage in nor compel religious practices,’ that it must ‘effect no favoritism among sects or between religion and nonreligion,’ and that it must ‘work deterrence of no religious belief.’” Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677, 698 (2005) (Breyer, J., concurring) (plurality opinion) (quoting Abington School Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 305 (1963) (Goldberg, J., concurring)).

 

But the Clause does not require the government “to purge from the public sphere” any reference to religion. Id. at 699. “Such absolutism is not only inconsistent with our national traditions, but would also tend to promote the kind of social conflict the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid.” Id. (citations omitted). While neutrality may be the “touchstone” of the Establishment Clause, it more so serves as a “sense of direction” than a determinative test. McCreary Cty. v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 454 U.S. 844 (2005). We cannot view neutrality as some sort of “brooding and pervasive devotion to the secular and a passive, or even active, hostility to the religious.” Schempp, 374 U.S. at 306 (Goldberg, J., concurring). Thus, in reviewing the challenged war memorial, this Court must seek general rather than absolute neutrality. We do so by engaging in the three-factor analysis delineated in Lemon v. Kurtzman (the “Lemon test”), which requires that the memorial have a secular purpose; have a principal or primary effect that neither advances, inhibits, nor endorses religion; and not foster “an excessive government entanglement with religion.” 403 U.S. 602, 612–13 (1971). The memorial “must satisfy each of the Lemon test’s three criteria” to pass constitutional muster. Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm’rs of Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 269 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mellen v. Bunting, 327 F.3d 355, 367 (4th Cir. 2003)).

 

A.

 

I will briefly reiterate the operative facts. In Bladensburg, Maryland, in a median at the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and U.S. Route 1, stands a war memorial consisting of a forty-foot-tall concrete Latin cross (the “Memorial”). The Memorial and the median are currently owned by Appellee Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (the “Commission”). Intervenor-Appellee American Legion’s symbol is displayed in the middle of the cross on both faces. The cross sits on a base and includes a plaque that lists the names of the forty-nine Prince George’s County residents who died in World War I. J.A. 1891. The plaque also states, “THIS MEMORIAL CROSS DEDICATED TO THE HEROES OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MARYLAND WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR FOR THE LIBERTY OF THE WORLD,” and includes a quotation from President Woodrow Wilson. Id. Also, each face of the base is inscribed with one of four words: “VALOR,” “ENDURANCE,” “COURAGE,” and “DEVOTION.” J.A. 1963.

 

In 1918, a group of private citizens led the charge to construct and finance the Memorial. The donors signed a pledge stating that they, “trusting in God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe,” pledged their faith in the forty-nine war dead, whose spirits guided them “through life in the way of godliness, justice, and liberty.” J.A. 1168. The group also circulated a fundraising flyer stating,

 

Here, those who come to the Nation’s Capital to view the wonders of its architecture and the sacred places where their laws are made and administered may, before this Cross, rededicate[] themselves to the principles of their fathers and renew the fires of patriotism and loyalty to the nation which prompted these young men to rally to the defense of the right. And here the friends and loved ones of those who were in the great conflict will pass daily over a highway memorializing their boys who made the supreme sacrifice.

 

J.A. 2303.

 

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Memorial and for Maryland Route 450 (then known as the National Defense Highway) in late 1919. Several local officials spoke about the fallen soldiers and how both the Memorial and highway would commemorate their bravery and sacrifice. But the private group ultimately failed to raise enough money to construct the Memorial and abandoned the project. The local post of the American Legion, a congressionally chartered veterans service organization, then took up the task and completed the Memorial on July 25, 1925. That day, the post held a ceremony which included multiple speeches regarding the Memorial’s representation of the men who died fighting for this country and an invocation and benediction delivered by local clergymen.

 

Over time, additional monuments honoring veterans were built near the Memorial (known as the “Veterans Memorial Park”). Because the Memorial sits in the middle of a median and is separated by a busy highway intersection, the closest additional monument is about 200 feet away. Since the Memorial’s completion, numerous events have been hosted there to celebrate Memorial Day, Veterans Day, the Fourth of July, and the remembrance of September 11th. These ceremonies usually include an invocation and benediction, but the record demonstrates that only three Sunday religious services were held at the Memorial—all of which occurred in August 1931. J.A. 347.

 

Due to increasing traffic on the highway surrounding it, the Commission acquired the Memorial and the median where it is located from the American Legion in March 1961. Since that time, the Commission has spent approximately $117,000 to maintain and repair the Memorial. In 2008, it set aside an additional $100,000 for renovations, of which only $5,000 has been spent as of 2015. J.A. 562–65. On February 25, 2014, more than fifty years after the Memorial passed into state ownership, Appellants initiated this suit against the Commission under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a violation of the Establishment Clause.

 

B.

 

By concluding that the Memorial violates the Establishment Clause, the majority employed the Lemon test “with due consideration given to the factors outlined in Van Orden.” Maj. Op. at 16. In Van Orden, a plurality of the Supreme Court determined that the Lemon test was not useful when evaluating a “passive monument.” 545 U.S. at 686. Instead, the Court’s analysis was “driven both by the nature of the monument and by our Nation’s history.” Id. As the majority recognizes, Justice Breyer’s concurrence is the controlling opinion in Van Orden. Maj. Op. at 14. Justice Breyer states that the Court’s Establishment Clause tests, such as Lemon, cannot readily explain the Clause’s tolerance of religious activities in “borderline cases,” as there is “no single mechanical formula that can accurately draw the constitutional line in every case.” Van Orden, 454 U.S. at 699– 700 (Breyer, J., concurring). “If the relation between government and religion is one of separation, but not of mutual hostility and suspicion, one will inevitably find difficult borderline cases.” Id. at 700. Instead of applying Lemon to the challenged Ten Commandments display, Justice Breyer exercised his “legal judgment” and evaluated the context of the display and how the undeniably religious text of the Commandments was used. Id. at 700–04. His concurrence, however, also noted that Lemon provides a “useful guidepost[]—and might well lead to the same result”—for “no exact formula can dictate a resolution to such fact-intensive cases.” Id. at 700.

 

Relying on Lemon, and drawing guidance from Van Orden, the majority determined that the Commission articulated a legitimate secular purpose for displaying the Memorial. Nevertheless, the majority concluded that the Memorial failed Lemon’s second and third factors, finding that a reasonable observer would conclude that the Memorial has the primary effect of endorsing religion and the Commission’s maintenance of the Memorial constitutes excessive entanglement with religion. In my view, the majority misapplies Lemon and Van Orden to the extent that it subordinates the Memorial’s secular history and elements while focusing on the obvious religious nature of Latin crosses themselves; constructs a reasonable observer who ignores certain elements of the Memorial and reaches unreasonable conclusions; and confuses maintenance of a highway median and monument in a state park with excessive religious entanglement.

 

III.

 

Because Appellants do not challenge the district court’s finding that the Commission has demonstrated a secular purpose for displaying and maintaining the Memorial (the first Lemon factor), I will discuss in turn the majority’s evaluation of the second and third Lemon factors—whether the Memorial has the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion and whether the government is excessively entangled with religion.

 

A.

 

Under Lemon’s second factor, we must determine “whether a particular display, with religious content, would cause a reasonable observer to fairly understand it in its particular setting as impermissibly advancing or endorsing religion.” Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 271. This reasonable observer inquiry “requires the hypothetical construct of an objective observer who knows all of the pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding the [display] and its placement.” Salazar v. Buono, 559 U.S. 700, 721 (2010) (plurality opinion). We should not ask “whether there is any person who could find an endorsement of religion, whether some people may be offended by the display, or whether some reasonable person might think the State endorses religion.” Capitol Square Review & Advisory Bd. v. Pinette, 515 U.S. 753, 780 (1995) (O’Connor, J., concurring) (internal quotation marks omitted). Instead, we must determine “whether . . . the display’s principal or primary effect is to advance or inhibit religion; or, put differently, whether an informed, reasonable observer would view the display as an endorsement of religion.” Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 272.

 

It is undeniable that the Latin cross is the “preeminent symbol of Christianity.” Maj. Op. at 18. But we must be careful not to “focus exclusively on the religious component” of a display, as that “would inevitably lead to its invalidation under the Establishment Clause.” Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 271 (quoting Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 680 (1984)). Indeed, the Supreme Court “has consistently concluded that displays with religious content—but also with a legitimate secular use—may be permissible under the Establishment Clause.” Id. (citing Cty. of Allegheny v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 492 U.S. 573, 579 (1989)). A reasonable observer would be aware that the cross is “not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs,” for it is “often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people.” Buono, 559 U.S. at 721.

 

Despite the religious nature of the Latin cross, a reasonable observer must also adequately consider the Memorial’s physical setting, history, and usage. The Memorial was created to commemorate the forty-nine soldiers who lost their lives in World War I, as explicitly stated on the plaque attached to its base. See J.A. 1891 (“THIS MEMORIAL CROSS DEDICATED TO THE HEROES OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MARYLAND WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR FOR THE LIBERTY OF THE WORLD.”). The plaque also includes a quotation from President Woodrow Wilson stating, “The right is more precious than peace. We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts. To such a task we dedicate our lives.” Id. Each face of the cross includes the American Legion seal and each face of the base is inscribed with one of four words: “VALOR,” “ENDURANCE,” “COURAGE,” and “DEVOTION.” J.A. 1963. The Memorial has functioned as a war memorial for its entire history, and it sits among other secular monuments in Veterans Memorial Park, though it is separated from the other monuments by intersecting highways.

 

The majority concludes that the size of the Latin cross making up the Memorial overwhelms these secular elements. In the majority’s view, the Memorial is unconstitutional based predominantly on the size of the cross, and neither its secular features nor history could overcome the presumption. But such a conclusion is contrary to our constitutional directive. We must fairly weigh the appearance, context, and factual background of the challenged display when deciding the constitutional question. See Lynch, 465 U.S. at 679–80; Cty. of Allegheny, 492 U.S. at 598–600. Although a reasonable observer would properly notice the Memorial’s large size, she would also take into account the plaque, the American Legion symbol, the four-word inscription, its ninety-year history as a war memorial, and its presence within a vast state park dedicated to veterans of other wars. Would the majority’s version of a reasonable observer be satisfied and better equipped to evaluate the Memorial’s history and context if the cross were smaller? Perhaps if it were the same size as the other monuments in the park? Though Establishment Clause cases require a fact-intensive analysis, we must bear in mind our responsibility to provide the government and public with notice of actions that violate the Constitution. What guiding principle can be gleaned from the majority’s focus on the cross’s size? Understandably, the majority’s decision would lead to per se findings that all large crosses are unconstitutional despite any amount of secular history and context, in contravention of Establishment Clause jurisprudence.

 

The majority also makes much of the Memorial’s isolation from the other monuments in Veterans Memorial Park, as it sits in the median of a now busy highway, making it difficult to access. But a reasonable observer would note that the Memorial was placed there as part of the concurrent creation of the National Defense Highway to commemorate the soldiers of World War I, not as a means of endorsing religion. And, though Veterans Memorial Park does not include any other religious symbols as memorials, there is no evidence that the state formally foreclosed the possibility of erecting any other religious symbol. Also, the reasonable observer would note that the Memorial’s physical setting does not lend itself to any religious worship. Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 702 (stating that religious display’s location in large park containing other monuments suggested “little or nothing sacred,” as it illustrated residents’ historical ideals and “did not readily lend itself to meditation or any other religious activity”).

 

Additionally, due to the Memorial’s location, the majority explains that a reasonable observer would not be able to easily examine the Memorial’s secular elements. Maj. Op. at 23. This is because the Memorial “is located in a high-traffic area and passers-by would likely be unable to read the plaque,” which is small and badly weathered. Id. at 23. However, the reasonable observer’s knowledge is not “limited to the information gleaned simply from viewing the challenged display.” Pinette, 515 U.S. at 780–81 (O’Connor, J., concurring). That the average person in the community may have difficulty viewing all of the secular elements of the Memorial while stuck in traffic or driving at high speeds is of no consequence, for the reasonable observer “is not to be identified with any ordinary individual, . . . but is rather a personification of a community ideal of reasonable behavior” who is “deemed aware of the history and context of the community and forum in which the religious display appears.” Id. at 779–80 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Thus, the reasonable observer’s ability to consider these secular elements is by no means diminished.

 

Further, quoting Trunk v. City of San Diego, 629 F.3d 1099, 1116 n.18 (9th Cir. 2011), the majority states that the large size and isolation of the Memorial “evokes a message of aggrandizement and universalization of religion, and not the message of individual memorialization and remembrance that is presented by a field of gravestones.” Maj. Op. at 22. In Trunk, the Ninth Circuit considered a forty-three-foot free-standing cross and veterans memorial erected in a state park. 629 F.3d at 1101. The court evaluated the history of the Latin cross generally, its use as a war memorial, the history of the particular war memorial at issue, and its physical setting. Id. at 1102–05, 1110–24. The cross in Trunk had no secular elements; instead, it was unadorned and without any physical indication that it was a war memorial until after litigation was initiated to remove it. Id. at 1101–02; see also Smith v. Cty. of Albemarle, 895 F.2d 953, 958 (4th Cir. 1990) (concluding that crèche, unassociated with any secular symbols, prominently displayed in front of government building, and unaccompanied by any other religious or nonreligious displays, conveyed message of governmental endorsement of religion). The court concluded that a reasonable observer would perceive the presence of the cross as the federal government’s endorsement of Christianity, due in part to its long history of serving as a site of religious observance, with no indication of any secular purpose for almost three decades. Id. at 1125.

 

But here, the Memorial has always served as a war memorial, has been adorned with secular elements for its entire history, and sits among other memorials in Veterans Memorial Park. The Memorial’s predominant use has been for Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations, although three religious services were conducted at the Memorial nearly ninety years ago. Also, the invocations and benedictions performed at the annual veterans celebrations are not enough to cause a reasonable observer to perceive the Memorial as an endorsement of Christianity in light of its overwhelmingly secular history and context. Further, guidance from Van Orden provides that the Memorial’s ninety-year existence and fifty-year government ownership without litigation is a strong indication that the reasonable observer perceived its secular message. See 545 U.S. at 702–03 (stating that challenged monument’s presence on government property for forty years provided determinative factor that it conveyed predominately secular message). The Memorial stands at a busy intersection, yet this case is the first time the Memorial has been challenged as unconstitutional. Those fifty years strongly suggest “that few individuals, whatever their system of beliefs, are likely to have understood the [Memorial] as amounting, in any significantly detrimental way, to a government effort . . . primarily to promote religion over nonreligion,” or to “engage in,” “compel,” or deter any religious practice or beliefs. Id. at 702 (quoting Schempp, 374 U.S. at 305 (Goldberg, J., concurring)); see also Buono, 559 U.S. at 716 (“Time also has played its role. [After] nearly seven decades[,] . . . the cross and the cause it commemorated had become entwined in the public consciousness.”). This significant passage of time must factor into the Court’s analysis and “help[] us understand that as a practical matter of degree [the Memorial] is unlikely to prove divisive.” Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 702.

 

With the foregoing facts, circumstances, and principles in mind, I conclude that a reasonable observer would understand that the Memorial, while displaying a religious symbol, is a war memorial built to celebrate the forty-nine Prince George’s County residents who gave their lives in battle. Such an observer would not understand the effect of the Commission’s display of the Memorial—with such a commemorative past and set among other memorials in a large state park—to be a divisive message promoting Christianity over any other religion or nonreligion. A cross near a busy intersection “need not be taken as a statement of governmental support for sectarian beliefs. The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion’s role in society. Rather, it leaves room to accommodate divergent values within a constitutionally permissible framework.” Buono, 559 U.S. at 718–19 (citations omitted). We must be careful not to push the Establishment Clause beyond its purpose in search of complete neutrality. “[U]ntutored devotion to the concept of neutrality can lead to invocation or approval of results which partake not simply of that noninterference and noninvolvement with the religious which the Constitution commands,” but of extreme commitment to the secular, “or even active, hostility to the religious.” Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 699 (quoting Schempp, 374 U.S. at 306 (Goldberg, J., concurring)). Finding that a reasonable observer would perceive the Memorial as an endorsement of Christianity would require that we pursue a level of neutrality beyond our constitutional mandate. I therefore conclude that the Memorial does not violate the second factor of the Lemon test.

 

B.

 

The Lemon test’s final factor asks whether the challenged display has created an “excessive entanglement” between government and religion. Lambeth, 407 F.3d at 272– 73. “The kind of excessive entanglement of government and religion precluded by Lemon is characterized by ‘comprehensive, discriminating, and continuing state surveillance.’” Id. at 273 (quoting Lemon, 403 U.S. at 619). This inquiry is one of “kind and degree,” Lynch, 465 U.S. at 684, “and because some interaction between church and state is inevitable, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that the ‘[e]ntanglement must be “excessive” before it runs afoul of the Establishment Clause,’” Koenick v. Felton, 190 F.3d 259, 268 (4th Cir. 1999) (quoting Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 233 (1997)).

 

The majority concludes that the Memorial fosters excessive entanglement because of the Commission’s ownership and maintenance of the Memorial. But the Commission’s maintenance of the Memorial and the land surrounding it could hardly be considered the sort of state surveillance that Lemon intends to prohibit. See Lemon, 403 U.S. at 615–20 (concluding that challenged action excessively entangled state with religion by requiring state to supplement salaries for teachers in parochial schools); see also Mellen, 327 F.3d at 375 (determining that public university’s supper prayer violated Lemon’s third prong because school officials “composed, mandated, and monitored a daily prayer”). Rather, the Commission is merely maintaining a monument within a state park and a median in between intersecting highways that must be well lit for public safety reasons. There is no evidence that the Commission consults with any churches or religious organizations to determine who may access the Memorial for events. Nor is there evidence that the Commission is required to be involved in any church-related activities to maintain the Memorial.

 

Further, the majority observes that “any use of public funds to promote religious doctrines violates the Establishment Clause.” Bowen v. Kendrick, 487 U.S. 589, 623 (1988) (O’Connor, J., concurring). But, in Agostini, the Supreme Court held that a federally funded program that paid public school teachers to teach disadvantaged children in parochial schools did not cause an excessive entanglement between church and state. 521 U.S. at 234–35. Likewise, the Commission’s use of $122,000 over the course of fifty-plus years for lighting and upkeep is not a promotion of any religious doctrine, as the Memorial is a historical monument honoring veterans.

 

I therefore conclude that the Memorial does not violate the third factor of the Lemon test.

 

*         *         *                              

 

This Memorial stands in witness to the VALOR, ENDURANCE, COURAGE, and DEVOTION of the forty-nine residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland “who lost their lives in the Great War for the liberty of the world.” I cannot agree that a monument so conceived and dedicated and that bears such witness violates the letter or spirit of the very Constitution these heroes died to defend. Accordingly, I would affirm the district court’s judgment.

______________

Edited by John R. Houk

Source links as well as text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

The Fallacy of “Separation of Church and State”


The best intro to this essay submission from Justin Smith can be summed up from an excerpt:

 

Any attack against Christianity and Judaism in America using the fallacy of “separation of Church and State” is simply an attempt to further undermine, not only Our U.S. Constitution and Religious Liberty, but Our entire traditional American way of life. Do not accept the Fallacy.

 

JRH 8/6/17

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The Fallacy of “Separation of Church and State”

 

By Justin O. Smith

Sent 8/5/2017 3:36 PM

 

The Founding Fathers believed that government’s role in religion should be limited. We cannot discount that the First Amendment begins “Congress shall make no law” either establishing a state religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Rather than articulate an affirmative responsibility for government to protect religion, the Founding Fathers felt it was enough to keep the government out. If nothing else, the language of the First Amendment makes it clear the goal was to restrain government when it came to religion. There is no suggestion the Founders felt the establishment clause and the free exercise clause were in any way competing. Otherwise, why would the Founders include the two clauses together?

 

The point was to keep government out of both realms. Both clauses were needed because it was not sufficient to restrain government from establishing a state religion; government also had to be restrained from any attempt to interfere with religious practices and beliefs. The negative language of the First Amendment does not prohibit Congress from passing a law that promotes religion, provided the judgement does not promote one religion over others.

Before the bad law and judicial activism that started with the abuse of the Constitution by Justice Hugo Black in Everson v Board of Education (1947), the states were not prohibited under the First Amendment from establishing religion, and nowhere in the debate on freedom of religion in the first Congress is there any mention of “separation of church and state.” Our Founders own writings clearly show that they never intended for public officials to check their convictions and beliefs at the door to their offices. They would have been shocked by the Court’s excessively broad interpretation of the First Amendment, given the language the Founders crafted with the belief it would protect open expression of religious beliefs in America.

 

The Founders most certainly would have rebelled against the idea of an absolute “separation of church and state” and the use of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to eradicate all Judeo-Christian references to God from the public square, because these ideas are incompatible with the Original Intent and unalienable rights granted to each of us by our Creator, thus making them erroneous and historically unsupportable.

 

[Blog Editor: Here’s an interesting thought on how the Left and Activist Judges misused the 14th Amendment to rob the Original Intent of the First Amendment:

 

When did things change?

 

Charles Darwin theory’s that species could evolve inspired a political theorist named Herbert Spencer to suggest that laws could evolve. This influenced Harvard Law Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell to develop the “case precedent” method of practicing law, which influenced his student, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

 

This occurred near the same time the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868, introduced by Republicans in Congress to guarantee rights to freed slaves in the Democrat South. The evolutionary “case-precedent” method provided a way to side-step the Constitutional means of changing the Constitution through the Amendment process.

 

Activist Justices began to creatively use the 14th Amendment to take jurisdiction away from the states over issues such as unions, strikes, railroads, farming, polygamy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

 

Freedom of religion was still under each individual state’s jurisdiction until Franklin D. Roosevelt.

 

 

In 1937, FDR nominated Justice Hugo Black to the Supreme Court, who also concentrated power by writing decisions taking jurisdiction away from the states in the area of religion. He did this by simply inserting the phrase “Neither a state” in his 1947 Everson v Board of Education decision: “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another.” READ ENTIRE ARTICLE (THIS IS HOW ATHEISM BECAME OUR OFFICIAL ‘RELIGION’; By BILL FEDERER; WND; 1/15/16 9:01 PM)

 

Now I can’t vouch for this being Justin Smith’s thought on the 14th Amendment, but using the effect of Darwinism in the development of Case Law to have more authority than Original Intent is enlightening to me.]

On New Year’s Day 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists to assuage their fear that the federal government might one day attempt to condition religious freedom as a right granted by the state. Jefferson, an anti-Federalist [Blog Editor: Federalist/Anti-Federalist Perspectives – HERE, HERE & HERE], clearly stated his intention to keep government out of religious affairs rather than empower it to remove religion from the public arena: “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in the behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural rights in opposition to his social duties.”

The First Amendment compels government not to eradicate religion from the public arena. If the expression of religious beliefs is an inherent God-designed part of human nature, as the Declaration of Independence proclaimed, then government acting to remove religion from the public sphere would have seemed to Our Founding Fathers to be acting in a manner antithetical to Our Founding Principles.

It is almost as if Justice Black decided the First Amendment was equivalent to the biblical admonition to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s, under the assumption that a discernible distinction could be made without conflict between what was Caesar’s and what was God’s. The whole point of the First Amendment’s attempt to protect freedom of religion is that over time Caesar tends to intrude upon God.

 

In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled in McCollom v Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948) that religious education provided by churches on public school grounds in Illinois during the school day was unconstitutional. Then in 1952, in Zorach v Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), the Supreme Court found that allowing New York students to leave school grounds for religious education was constitutional. Dissenting in Zorach, Justice Black wrote, “I see no significant difference between the invalid Illinois system and that of New York here sustained.” If Justice Black, the author of the court’s majority opinion in Everson, could not distinguish these cases, how could state, county, city or municipal school officials be expected to make the distinction reliably?

 

A Godless public square could not be more antithetical to what Our Founding Fathers thought they were achieving when drafting the First Amendment, and the Courts distort precedent whenever they use the Establishment Clause to crush all things religious Ironically, the very language crafted to protect religious freedom has now reached the point at which Americans can only be assured freedom from religion in all places within this nation, with the possible exceptions of prayer confined to church and free expression of religion confined to the privacy of one’s home.

Jefferson made a poignant remark in Notes on the State of Virginia, which clarifies his thinking: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have lost the only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?[Blog Editor’s Emphasis]

 

Why didn’t the Supreme Court choose this text for their ruling? [Blog Editor’s Emphasis] Or his use of “natural rights” in other documents? Justice Clarence Thomas once stated: “… this Court’s nebulous Establishment Clause analyses, turn on little more than “judicial predilections … It should be noted that the extent to which traditional Judeo-Christian religion is removed from the public square and the public schools, it is replaced by other religions, including Secular Humanism, which is specifically recognized as a religion by the Supreme Court.”
In order to combat this assault on religious freedom and religious liberty, to date, twenty-one states have enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Acts since 1993. Currently, ten states [5/4/17 – 9 States] are considering legislation on the topic this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia amended their state RFRA, but otherwise no states have passed their legislation.
For eight decades, the ACLU has been America’s leading religious censor, waging a largely uncontested war, until recently, against America’s core values, utilizing every fallacy, piece of misinformation and outright LIE imaginable in its war against religious liberty, with the support of much of the current Marxist media; both are intent on destroying traditional America, including the nuclear family. We now live in a country where our traditional Christian and Jewish faith and religion — civilizing forces in any society — are openly mocked and increasingly pushed to the margins, and our weapon to stop them is the Founding Fathers’ own words and their Original Intent regarding the U.S. Constitution.
Ultimately, two very diverse thinkers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams concluded, that without virtue based on a solid belief in God, Liberty was inevitably lost. In other words, if the Supreme Court, through the efforts of Communists, atheists and fools and ACLU prompting, succeeds in removing the Judeo-Christian God from American public life, a foundation pillar upon which American liberty has depended will have been removed, perhaps irretrievably. Without the open expression of religious freedom so fundamental to American liberty that it is written into the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, American Liberty will not long persist.

 

Americans cannot and must not allow the Communists and atheists of this nation and the ACLU to secularize America to the point where our tolerance is turned into silencing and punishing religious speech. Life is valuable; marriage is a God-ordained institution between one man and one woman, and families are comprised of a male father and a female mother with any number of children. Any attack against Christianity and Judaism in America using the fallacy of “separation of Church and State” is simply an attempt to further undermine, not only Our U.S. Constitution and Religious Liberty, but Our entire traditional American way of life. Do not accept the Fallacy.

 

By Justin O. Smith

__________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All links and any text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Justin O. Smith

 

Challenging Activist Judge & NAF


Troy Newman & Judge William Orrick

 

John R. Houk

© August 5, 2017

 

On July 14, 2015, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released its first undercover Planned Parenthood video, blowing the whistle on the abortion industry’s practice of illegally harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted babies.

 

Just 17 days later, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) filed a lawsuit against CMP and ultimately secured a preliminary injunction against lead investigator and CMP founder David Daleiden. The injunction prohibited him from releasing any footage obtained during NAF conferences and meetings, which David had attended undercover with the goal of exposing illegal activity by the abortion industry.

 

Fast forward almost two years—and the lawsuit is still ongoing. Meanwhile, Daleiden’s footage from the NAF conference remains under lock and key, leaving some to wonder what secrets NAF is trying to hide. (Abortion Industry’s Interests Should Never Outweigh Public Concerns or First Amendment Rights; By Marissa Mayer; Alliance Defending Freedom; 4/21/17)

 

U.S. District Judge William Orrick violated the First Amendment Rights of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) by gagging all undercover videos exposing the murderous intent by National Abortion Federation (NAF) in trafficking aborted and live birth baby parts for profit. Planned Parenthood was stung the same way. Leftists in law enforcement are doing their best to cover-up these nefarious murders and felonious activities with baby part trafficking.

 

U.S. District Judge William Orrick, who granted the preliminary injunction in favor of the National Abortion Federation to halt the release of the videos, ordered any links to the video to be removed after it was published by the Center for Medical Progress on Thursday.

 

Judge Orrick also ordered CMP lead investigator David Daleiden and his attorneys to appear in court June 14, The Associated Press reported, for a hearing where he will consider holding them in contempt for releasing the footage.

 

Mr. Daleiden has been charged with 15 felonies in California stemming from his undercover investigation into the abortion giant. His attorneys have called it a “witch hunt” that flies in the face of the First Amendment.

 

YouTube has not responded to a request for comment.

 

The three-minute video showed top Planned Parenthood executives joking about severed fetus heads, admitting to altering abortion procedures to preserve fetal organs and conceding that clinics have a financial incentive to sell the human remains from abortions. (YouTube removes latest Planned Parenthood video on judge’s order; By Bradford Richardson; Washington Times; 5/26/17)

 

Judge Orrick took advantage of the 9th Circuit Appellate Court’s unfavorable ruling to make that gag order.

 

The abortion industry has desperately tried to suppress and delegitimize the work of CMP, including through the use of litigation. We represent former CMP board member Troy Newman – who is also the President of Operation Rescue – in lawsuits filed by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) as well as Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and numerous Planned Parenthood affiliates, and we recently filed briefs in both cases.

 

In the NAF case, the trial court issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the defendants from publishing videos or materials relating to NAF conferences, or sharing such information with anyone, including state Attorneys General or local law enforcement officers, while the case moves forward. The defendants have appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Ninth Circuit, and we recently filed a reply brief (under seal by court order) that emphasizes that government investigators, and the general public, have a compelling interest in being able to review the videos and materials themselves.

 

In the PPFA case, we recently filed a reply brief supporting our motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Our brief explains that all of the claims – such as wire fraud, racketeering, and breach of contract – are meritless, so the case should be dismissed. (Two Briefs Filed in Fight to Expose Illegal Abortion Practices; By ACLJ.org; 7/2016)

 

One of the founders of CMP, Troy Newman, has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to win back the First Amendment Right to expose the crimes of Planned Parenthood.

 

Here is the Press Release that I first received in my Inbox from Operation Rescue; however, I’m cross posting the PR from ChristianNewsWire.com.

 

JRH 8/5/17

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Newman Files Petition with Supreme Court Challenging Gag Order that Bans Sharing Evidence with Law Enforcement

 

PRESS RELEASE

August 4, 2017

ChristianNewsWire.com

 

Contact: Troy Newman, President, 316-683-6790 ext. 111; Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Vice President , 316-516-3034; both with Operation Rescue,  info.operationrescue@gmail.com   

 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and a founding member of the Center for Medical Progress, filed a petition yesterday to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the Constitutionality of a preliminary injunction that prohibits the release of undercover videos recorded at National Abortion Federation (NAF) meetings – even to law enforcement when they contain evidence of crimes.

 

The petition, captioned Newman v. National Abortion Federation, states:

 

This Petition stems from an injunction forbidding the voluntary disclosure to law enforcement agencies, other governmental bodies, and the general public of recordings and other information that the enjoined individuals and entities-as well as Congressional investigators-believe are evidence of widespread criminal, illegal, and unethical conduct, including felonies.

 

Newman is represented by Jay Sekulow, who leads Newman’s team of attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

 

During Newman’s tenure on the Board of the Center for Medical Progress, the NAF, and later Planned Parenthood, filed suits in a San Francisco Federal Court against Newman and others in an effort to prevent the release of further undercover videos that exposed the illegal trade in aborted baby body parts.

 

And it is little wonder that the NAF would not want the videos released.

 

Newman’s Supreme Court Petition notes that Congressional investigations conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives referred members of the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation and prosecution.

 

Newman argues that the enjoined recordings corroborate the determination of the two Congressional investigations, which found evidence that NAF members (including several Planned Parenthood organizations) were engaged in the following criminal conduct:

 

  • Profiting from the sale of fetal organs;

 

  • Altering abortion procedures for financial gain;

 

  • Performing illegal partial-birth abortions;

 

  • Killing newborns who survived attempted abortions;

 

  • Failing to obtain informed consent for fetal tissue donations;

 

  • Violating federal regulations regarding Institutional Review Boards (IRBs); and

 

  • Fraudulent overbilling practices.

 

Newman’s petition further states:

 

It has long been a tenet of Anglo-American jurisprudence that individuals who believe that they have information concerning criminal or illegal activities should be permitted, and encouraged, to voluntarily provide such information to government authorities. Similarly, investigative journalism concerning matters of public concern, including the uncovering of illegal, unethical, or troubling activities, is a constitutionally protected, venerable undertaking.

 

Newman’s unsuccessful appeal to the Ninth Circuit was joined by state 14 Attorneys General, led by Arizona, who are seeking to review the evidence contained in the recordings.

 

As the most important abortion case currently under litigation, Newman v. NAF could have profound implications on the future use of undercover investigative techniques and the ability of law enforcement to gather evidence in criminal investigations.

 

Read the Petition in Newman v. NAF

 

Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and has become a strong voice for the pro-life movement in America.  Click here to support Operation Rescue.

____________________

Challenging Activist Judge & NAF

John R. Houk

© August 5, 2017

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Newman Files Petition with Supreme Court Challenging Gag Order that Bans Sharing Evidence with Law Enforcement

 

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Robert Spencer Defends the West…


In America both the Left and the Right cherish Free Speech enshrined in the First Amendment. Or at least the First Amendment is cherished in the political spectrum’s right to criticize each other, but the Left questions the Free Speech ability of the Right to expose the truth of totalitarian issues supported by the Left. Why? Our Republic was established in rebelling against a totalitarian King between 1776 (actually battles fought in 1775 but Independence declared in 1776) and 1783 (Treaty of Paris). The Left pretends to be the Party of the People but supports Big Government control of society from top to bottom, aka totalitarianism.

 

With this all in mind, I think you will find Andrew Bostom’s book review of Robert Spencer’s “The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies)” interesting. It Points out that Islam is no friend of Free Speech and the irony of the Left trying to protect Islam from criticism.

 

JRH 8/2/17

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Robert Spencer Defends the West: ‘The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech’

 

By ANDREW G. BOSTOM

JULY 31, 2017

PJ Media

 

FILE – DECEMBER 25, 2013: The Egyptian interim government [sic] has declared the Mohammed Morsi led ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ a terrorist organisation. The action was taken in response to the bombing of the police station in Mansoura earlier this week, which the government has stated was the responsibility of the Brotherhood, despite denials from the group itself. CAIRO, EGYPT – DECEMBER 14: Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood chant slogans during a rally on December 14, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. Opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi staged final rallies in Cairo ahead of tomorrow’s referendum vote on the country’s draft constitution that was rushed through parliament in an overnight session on November 29. The country’s new draft constitution, passed by a constitutional assembly dominated by Islamists, will go to a referendum vote on December 15. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

 

A review of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), by Robert Spencer, Regnery Publishing, 2017, 274 pp.

 

———-

 

Twenty-four years ago, the late Mervyn Hiskett, renowned British scholar of the history of jihad and Islamization in sub-Saharan Africa, turned his attention to the looming impact of Islam on his own Britain and Western societies more broadly, including the United States. In his 1993 Some to Mecca Turn To Pray, he articulated presciently the Islamic conundrum now enveloping us, which requires an immediate response if we still cherish individual liberty:

 

As is so often the case when considering Islam, one has to concede the power of certain of its ideas. But when it comes to having these ideas advocated within our own shores, and as alternatives to our own insti­tutions, one must then ask oneself: Which does one prefer? Western secular, pluralist institutions, imperfect as these are? Or the Islamic theo­cratic alternative?

 

And if one decides in favor of one’s own institutions, warts and all, one then has to ask again: How far may the advocacy of Islamic alternatives go, before this becomes downright subversive? And at that point, what should be done about it? Finally, do liberal, demo­cratic politicians have the political and moral guts to do what is needed, or will they simply give way, bit by bit and point by point, to insistent and sustained pressure from the Muslim “Parliament” and other Muslim special-interest lobbies like it?

 

Robert Spencer’s concise, lucid analysis, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), validates Hiskett’s gravest concerns about Islamic subversion: the relentless campaign to abrogate our most basic, unique Western liberty — free expression. With characteristic erudition, attention to detail, and wit (see text box on p. 28, “Did Any Of Them Have Eating Disorders? Those Can Make You Crazy,” from this video), Spencer chronicles how free speech in Western societies has been dangerously eroded by what Hiskett aptly termed “the Muslim ‘Parliament’ and other Muslim special interest lobbies,” in full collaboration with statist Left cultural relativists.

 

The grotesque harmonic convergence between mainstream, totalitarian Islam — epitomized by Sharia “blasphemy” law — and the “democratic” totalitarianism of the Left, derived from Robespierre and the Jacobins through Communist ideologues and leaders Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, is an underlying, recurrent theme of Spencer’s urgent presentation. Indeed the latter, “Dr. Crankley’s Children” (per Whittaker Chambers’ acid 1948 discussion of the Communist legacy on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Marx’s manifesto), and their “softer” statist minions of our era, bear at least as much responsibility for the erosion of Western free speech as institutional Islam and its pious Muslim votaries. Spencer elucidates how, despite superficial appearances of being oddly conjoined:

 

… endeavoring to weaken and destroy the freedom of speech, leftists in the United States have found ready allies in the Muslim community. Many observers have remarked that the Left and Islamic supremacists make strange bedfellows: the former advocate a moral libertinism; the latter are attempting to impose a repressive moral code. What binds these unlikely allies is a shared taste for authoritarianism. Both parties want to stifle dissent, and in doing so both find themselves fighting the same foes. Why not join forces?

 

All 13 of Spencer’s carefully arranged, remarkably compendious chapters have germane (even pathognomonic!) titles, including 10 epigrams:

 

Chapter 1, “Just Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”

Chapter 2, “Tailored in an Appropriate Way”: Can Free Speech Really Be Restricted in the United States?

Chapter 3, “Now Obviously This is a Country That is Based on Free Speech, but…,”: The U.S. Government vs. Free Speech

Chapter 4, The “Hate Speech” Scam

Chapter 5, “Peer Pressure and Shaming” to Rein in Free Speech

Chapter 6, “Is That Being Racist?”: Americans Learn Self-Censorship

Chapter 7, “Irresponsibly Provocative”: The Erosion of Free Speech From Rushdie to Geller

Chapter 8, “Can’t We Talk about This?”: The Death of Free Speech in Europe

Chapter 9, Catholics Against Free Speech

Chapter 10, “Not Conducive to the Public Good”: Free Speech Dies in Britain and Canada

Chapter 11, The New Brownshirts

Chapter 12, “The University Prides Itself on Diversity”: Administrators vs. Free Speech Chapter 13, “Facing the New Totalitarianism”: Fighting Back for the Freedom of Speech

 

Spencer traces the living Islamic law imperative to brook no criticism of the Muslim faith, or its prophet founder, to both canonical traditions of Muhammad and the Koran (9:14-15) itself, which exhorts Muslims to wage jihad to punish the “offending” infidels. Muhammad in effect created his own “Dead Poets Society” comprised of victims (men and women, elderly and young) slain at his behest by his most ardent early Muslim followers, for perceived “insults” to Islam’s prophet. Citing the contemporary example of the Islamic State of Pakistan (and the plight of Pakistani Christian, Asia Bibi), Spencer asks: to assure a “future free of offense to Islam,” what exactions will “our leftist politicians, media elites, and much of the Western intelligentsia” be willing to impose upon their own citizens?

 

For saying, “I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?”, a Christian woman named Asia Bibi is on death row in Pakistan, where “wounding [Muslims’] religious feelings” is a crime and blaspheming Muhammad is punishable by death. Pakistan doesn’t have the First Amendment. Americans in the United States are in no danger of execution for testifying to their religious beliefs. But the Asia Bibi case illustrates the utter futility of attempting to keep Muslims from ever being offended — unless we are willing to give up our right to freedom of speech entirely.

 

Americans should not be complacent about First Amendment protections. Reminding readers that the divide separating “treasonous and seditious speech and speech that is simply unwelcome to the government” has proven controversial throughout U.S. history, Spencer avers:

 

The Sedition Act [of 1791] and the Espionage Act [of 1917] demonstrate the U.S. government has placed severe restrictions on the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of speech in the past, and indicate that it could do so again in the future. This history also shows that the First Amendment protections of free speech are most likely to be curtailed in a time of serious and imminent threats to the nation. That time may be upon us now.

 

Spencer emphasizes one particularly alarming Obama administration reaction to the 9/11/2012 jihad massacre at Benghazi — “scapegoating a video [and subsequently the videographer] criticizing Muhammad” — which illustrates such curtailment, “placing the onus on freedom of speech.” He adds: “The unmistakable implication was that if only Americans would not criticize Muhammad, attacks of this kind wouldn’t happen.” Worse still, two days following Barack Obama’s surreal Islamic blasphemy law-compliant pronouncement to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2012, that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” America’s first Sharia blasphemy law victim, Egyptian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, producer of the Innocence of Muslims video, was arrested, declared a “danger to the community,” and imprisoned without bail. He was incarcerated for 12 months.

 

Devoid of First Amendment equivalent laws, governed by Left statists marinated for decades in cultural relativist claptrap ideology, and subject to the same forces of Islamization by Muslim immigrant populations, Western Europe, as Spencer demonstrates, including Britain as well as Canada, is even further along the trajectory towards self-inflicted full compliance with Sharia blasphemy law.

 

Perhaps the most illuminating and disheartening chapter of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies) chronicles progressive Western supplication to Islam since Ayatollah Khomeini’s February 14, 1989 fatwa condemning novelist Salman Rushdie to death for his The Satanic Verses, and its perceived insults to the Muslim creed and Islam’s prophet. Spencer provides an especially astute observation regarding a follow-up Khomeini fatwa denying Rushdie any leniency for repenting, and offering a reward for any non-Muslim willing to execute the beleaguered author:

 

The invitation to non-Muslims to murder Rushdie was significant: Khomeini was inviting non-Muslims to share Muslim sensibilities regarding Rushdie’s alleged offense, and trying to induce them to do so by the prospect of financial reward. It would take years for this invitation and foreigners and non-Muslims to kill Rushdie to evolve into the “shaming,” as Hillary Clinton would put it, of those who dared to decline to participate in the de facto implementation of Islamic blasphemy laws. Clinton’s “peer pressure an shaming” imperative demonstrated that, in the two decades between the Rushdie fatwa and her endorsement of UNHRC 16/18 [i.e., the United Nations Human Rights Commission’s “defamation of religion” resolution which riveted upon Islam and was aggressively lobbied for by the UN’s Muslims nation members], non-Muslims had become the principal enforcers of Sharia blasphemy law in the West.

 

Drawing upon his shared experience with journalist and activist Pamela Geller in the wake of the May 3, 2015 Garland, Texas, jihadist attack on a staid exhibit of historical and contemporary depictions of Muhammad, Spencer concludes:

 

It is not an offensive act, but ultimately an act in defense of Western civilization to show Islamic jihadists that their violent threats will not cow me and that I will not allow violent intimidation to rule the day, and that I will not offend them in any larger sense by treating them as if they were demented children who cannot control their actions and must necessarily kill in the face of being offended. It was the murderous jihadis who made drawing Muhammad the flash point of the defense of free speech, not Pamela Geller, and I.

 

It is they who, by their determination to murder non-Muslims who violate their religious law on this point, have made it imperative that free people signal that they will not submit to them. If we give in to that demand that we conform to this Sharia principle, there will be further demands that we adhere to additional Sharia principles. It is ultimately a question of whether we will submit to Sharia or stand up for freedom. At Garland we were standing. In the aftermath, it is clear a huge segment of the Western political and media elites are ready, if not eager to kneel, daring not to “provoked” their new masters.

 

A quarter century after Hiskett’s Cassandra-like warning about the liberty-crushing peril of acquiescing to Islam within Western societies, Robert Spencer has meticulously documented its most dire consequences: de facto elimination of free speech criticism of the Muslim creed — and, ultimately, free expression, overall. Spencer’s courageous and irrefragable analysis is simultaneously a tocsin of imminent calamity, and a clarion call to action in defense of free speech, our most fundamental, keystone liberty. Western freedom-loving citizens must help bring his message to American political and religious leaders before our liberties are transmogrified by the global Muslim “umma,” seeking unabashedly (since 1981) to impose “The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights,” i.e., Sharia totalitarianism.

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Since its inception in 2005, PJ Media has been focused on the news that matters — from the insightful commentary provided by our all-star lineup of columnists to our writers’ quick takes on breaking news and trending stories. The media company’s founders — Academy Award Nominee Roger L. Simon, Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs) and Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) — brought together a tightly knit band of bloggers into an integrated website that has evolved into a reliable source for original, unique, and cutting-edge political news and analysis.

 

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Christian Rights Protected from LGBTQ Impositions


John R. Houk

© June 23, 2017

 

I received an update yesterday from the American Family Association (AFA) celebrating the 5th Circuit Appellate Court spanking an earlier Federal Court decision to strike down a Mississippi State law protecting the Rights and Liberties of Christians against the ungodly LGBTQ militants who enjoy forcing their homosexual beliefs down the throats of Christians.

 

I avoid reading the Leftist-oriented Mainstream Media (MSM) reports because of their hatred of Conservative America values. Actually, when I Googled confirmation of the AFA alert, I was not at all surprised at the majority of MSM links deriding the 5th Circuit Appellate Court for damning the poor ungodly homosexuals of the militant LGBTQ.

 

This is what I am going to do. I am going to cross post the brief AFA email alert followed by a Daily Signal article on the 5th Circuit Appellate Court decision. In my humble opinion, The Daily Signal had the best report. Many other Conservative-oriented news sites even referenced The Daily Signal analysis. Nonetheless, here are a few titles from Conservative media also reporting on the victory for Christian religious Freedom in Mississippi:

 

 

 

 

Let us pray the many more States follow suit and declare Religious Freedom outweighs homosexuals forcing their ungodly beliefs on Bible observing Christians. Perhaps the U.S. Congress passing a Bill protecting the Freedom and Liberty of ALL Christian American citizens.

 

JRH 6/23/17

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Mississippi Religious Freedom bill upheld by court!

 

Sent by Tim Wildmon, President
Sent 6/22/2017 3:21 PM

Sent from American Family Association

 

Great news! This afternoon, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (federal court in New Orleans) upheld the Mississippi “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” or HB 1523. This law protects people of faith – including Christians – from being forced to participate in a wedding ceremony between two homosexuals, along with other protections. I interviewed Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant a little while ago. You can hear that short conversation here.

 

Religious freedom has been under assault in our country, especially against Christians. This decision is another reason to give thanks to the Lord today! AFA thanks our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom for taking this case up on behalf of the people of Mississippi.

 

If our mission resonates with you, please consider supporting our work financially with a tax-deductible donation. The easiest way to do that is through online giving. It is easy to use, and most of all, it is secure.

 

Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association

 

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Circuit Court Win for Religious Freedom on Gay Marriage

 

By Ryan T. Anderson

June 22, 2017

The Daily Signal

 

Blind Justice Statue

 

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday that a Mississippi law that protects religious liberty and the rights of conscience in light of the redefinition of marriage may go into effect.

 

In the decision, the circuit court overruled a previous judgment from a district court judge who had declared the Mississippi law unconstitutional for violating the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

 

But as the circuit court pointed out, the challengers to Mississippi’s law lack standing because they “have not clearly shown injury-in-fact.” In other words, they did not show how the Mississippi law protecting liberty for people who hold to the pre-Obergefell v. Hodges definition of marriage harmed them.

 

The court explained that the “failure” of the “plaintiffs to assert anything more than a general stigmatic injury dooms their claim.”

 

While the ruling focused on the lack of standing of the plaintiffs, there are plenty of reasons to rule in favor of the constitutionality of laws like Mississippi’s on the merits.

 

As Sherif Girgis and I explain in our new book, “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination,” there is nothing scandalous about protections for particular views that are at odds with those on which the government acts.

 

When the government takes Americans to war, exceptions cover pacifists. When the government guarantees abortion, exceptions cover pro-lifers. These exemptions don’t amount to establishments of any religion, and neither do laws protecting dissenters after Obergefell.

 

Indeed, as law professor Richard Epstein explains, the Establishment Clause—meant to “knock down state coercion for religion”—can’t be used to invalidate “a statute whose whole purpose was to insulate private parties from any form of coercion.”

 

So, what does the Mississippi law do? As previously explained at The Daily Signal:

 

  • Religious organizations, like churches, cannot be forced to use their facilities to celebrate or solemnize weddings that violate their beliefs.

 

  • Religious convents, universities, and social service organizations can continue to maintain personnel and housing policies that reflect their beliefs.

 

  • Religious adoption agencies can continue to operate by their conviction that every child they serve deserves to be placed with a married mom and dad.

 

  • Bakersphotographersflorists, and similar wedding-specific vendors cannot be forced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings if they cannot do so in good conscience.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a reasonable bill. It protects the consciences of people who hold to the historic definition of marriage in the aftermath of the Supreme Court redefining marriage, and it does so while avoiding the awful outcomes that critics fear. The bill provides that the government cannot punish, fine, or coerce specific people and organizations, in specific contexts. It doesn’t harm anyone.

 

Other states should follow Mississippi’s lead in protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience after the redefinition of marriage. So, too, should Congress pass protections at the federal level.

 

Longstanding Precedent on Abortion

 

There is great precedent for such protections on the abortion issue, as Girgis and I explain in “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination.”

 

In 1973, just months after Roe v. Wade was handed down, Congress passed the Church Amendment, named for Sen. Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho.

 

While Roe shielded the choice to have an abortion, the Church Amendment protected doctors’ and nurses’ choices not to perform one. It provided that health care organizations receiving federal funds could not force their doctors or nurses to perform or assist abortions.

 

Some 20 years later, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Coats–Snowe Amendment. It prohibits the government from discriminating against medical students who refuse to perform abortions and medical residency programs that leave out abortion training.

 

And in 2004, Congress passed the Hyde-Weldon Amendment, which keeps the government from discriminating against health care institutions that don’t offer abortions.

 

Since 1973, then, U.S. policy has protected a right to choose an abortion right alongside an individual and institutional right to choose against facilitating one.

 

Our law should now do the same on marriage. It needn’t and shouldn’t penalize private associations for their beliefs on this issue. Doing so would make no appreciable difference to the ability of same-sex couples to receive the goods and services they seek, but it would undermine conscience rights for some.

 

So lawmakers can and should grant a categorical accommodation.

 

Current Legislation

 

A proposed federal law would do that. Much like the Church, Coats-Snowe, and Hyde-Weldon amendments, the First Amendment Defense Act would protect the freedoms of citizens and organizations who hold a belief at odds with one enshrined by courts.

 

Protecting pro-life consciences did not violate the Constitution—by establishing a religion or engaging in viewpoint discrimination or otherwise. Nor do laws protecting pacifists. Their only aim is peaceful coexistence in the face of disagreement.

 

The same goes for the First Amendment Defense Act. It would enact a bright-line rule to keep government from penalizing someone just for acting on her belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife. It would protect people who hold that belief for religious or secular reasons, and it would shield organizations from losing nonprofit tax status, licensing, or accreditation for operating by these beliefs.

 

But even the First Amendment Defense Act’s categorical protections reflect a careful balance. They protect individuals, nonprofit charities, and privately held businesses, but not publicly traded corporations, or federal employees or contractors in the course of their work.

 

The First Amendment Defense Act makes clear that it does not relieve the federal government of its duty to provide services, medical care, or benefits to all who qualify. It must simply respect conscience in the course of doing so.

 

Mississippi has shown the way forward on this issue at the state level. And on Thursday, the 5th Circuit allowed that law to go into effect.

 

Other states should offer similar protections at the state level, and Congress should do the same at the federal level.

 

Protecting a New Minority

 

America is in a time of transition. The Supreme Court has redefined marriage, and beliefs about human sexuality are changing.

 

During this time, it is critical to protect the right to dissent and the civil liberties of those who speak and act in accord with what Americans had always previously believed about marriage—that it is the union of husband and wife.

 

Good public policy is needed at the local, state, and federal levels to protect cherished American values. Good policy would help achieve civil peace amid disagreement and protect pluralism and the rights of all Americans, regardless of what faith they may practice.

 

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Christian Rights Protected from LGBTQ Impositions

John R. Houk

© June 23, 2017

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Mississippi Religious Freedom bill upheld by court!

 

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Copyright ©2017 American Family Association. All Rights Reserved

 

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Circuit Court Win for Religious Freedom on Gay Marriage

 

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Pro-Life Journalists Seek Appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Free Speech, Baby Parts Case


I just finished posting about the extremely questionable prosecution, jailing and exorbitant bail against Sandra Merritt this morning. Then, I go to my email inbox. Lo and behold! I found an email from Operation Rescue reporting the Ninth Circuit of Appeals (located on the Left coast) ruled that the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) undercover obtained videos and recording cannot be turned over to the police EVEN if criminal conduct is reveal!!!!!!

 

“A three-member panel of the liberally activist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that additional footage obtained through the CMP’s undercover investigations – even those recordings that contain evidence of criminal conduct committed by Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation officials – cannot be released to law enforcement personnel. A requested review by the full Ninth Circuit was denied.”

What is our nation coming to when even the Judicial Branch condones lawlessness in the name of protecting the Leftist transformative agenda that has hammered into American thought?

 

Here is the Operation Rescue article that was linked in my email alert.

 

JRH 5/9/17

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Pro-Life Journalists Seek Appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Free Speech, Baby Parts Case

 

By DeAnn Flanagan

May 8, 2017

Operation Rescue

 

San Francisco, CA – The Center for Medical Progress and its founding members, including Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, are seeking to appeal a draconian Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to protect the First Amendment Rights of journalists to report to law enforcement evidence of crimes contained in undercover recordings.

 

A three-member panel of the liberally activist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that additional footage obtained through the CMP’s undercover investigations – even those recordings that contain evidence of criminal conduct committed by Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation officials – cannot be released to law enforcement personnel. A requested review by the full Ninth Circuit was denied.

 

The ruling is related to a federal lawsuit, National Abortion Federation v. CMP, et al, that was filed in 2015 after the CMP released several videos showing Planned Parenthood executives haggling over top dollar to illegally sell aborted baby organs and tissue. The NAF sought to block the further release of possibly incriminating videos.

 

Attorneys for the American Center for Law and Justice are representing Newman in that case.

 

A joint motion filed May 5, 2017, is seeking a stay of the Ninth Circuit’s mandate pending the filing of a certiorari petition with the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

The motion states that the court wrongly upheld a “prior restraint” on CMP’s First Amendment speech, which had captured great public interest. The undercover videos were also the subject of investigations by House and Senate panels that later referred Planned Parenthood organizations to the U.S. Department of Justice and state Attorneys General for further criminal investigation and prosecution.

 

“Prior restraints are ‘the most serious and least tolerable infringement of First Amendment Rights,’” stated the motion to stay.

 

So radical was the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that the pro-life leaders’ defense attorneys argued:

 

Outside the context of trade secrets and classified information, no federal court – other than now this Court – has upheld an order suppressing information of high public interest based simply on the agreement of the parties to do so. Other federal courts have declined to put the weight of their contempt power behind the enforcement of private agreements to defeat the public’s right to know.

 

“In a case of critical importance to free speech rights, the Ninth Circuit has wrongly barred pro-life citizen journalists from reporting crimes and submitting evidence to law enforcement. Instead, the Court has opted to protect the ability of the NAF and Planned Parenthood to conceal possible criminal activity,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Vice President, Operation Rescue. “The rogue Ninth Circuit has showed their penchant for liberal, pro-abortion judicial activism once again, and we look forward to the U.S. Supreme Court once again overturning one of their grossly unconstitutional decisions.”

 

Order denying appeal to full Ninth Circuit.


Defense Motion to Stay Mandate pending SCOTUS filing.

 

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Copyright © 2017 Operation Rescue, Inc. 

 

Who We Are

 

Operation Rescue® is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation. Operation Rescue® recently made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and has become perhaps the most visible voice of the pro-life activist movement in America. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates.

 

Click here to donate.


Click here to contact.

 

READ: Operation Rescue’s Non-Violent History is a Matter of Public Record

 

Troy Newman, President

 

Adopted at birth and raised in San Diego, Troy Newman has more than 27 years of experience and leadership in business and pro-life ministry with great success growing Christian organizations. Troy is an accomplished strategist with remarkable insight.

 

His vision, expertise, and leadership have  READ THE REST

 

Florida College Turns Religious Liberty into Dhimmitude


John R. Houk

© March 28, 2017

 

On 3/24 I posted on how the Islamic revered writings of the Quran, Hadith and Sira (Sunna) are directly Antisemitic and Antichristian. This has become a problem and a challenge to the Religious Liberty of the First Amendment in relation to how these revered writings provoke Islamic Supremacist concepts that large private businesses and private institutions (such as colleges) are relegating themselves to dhimmitude.

 

Areej Zufari

 

Rollins College located in Florida suspended Marshall Polston for challenging the opinion of Middle Eastern Humanities Professor Areej Zufari that Jesus Christ was never Crucified nor was Jesus God – part of the co-equal personhood of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as ONE singular God.

 

Polston’s beliefs are a part of central tenets of Christianity. Professor Zufari’s beliefs are straight out of the Quran.

 

The Religious Liberty written in the blood Revolutionary War veterans in the First Amendment means both Polston and Zufari are entitled to their opinions.

 

However, when Rollins College suspended Polston for his Christian beliefs undoubtedly at the behest of the Muslim Professor Areej Zufari, robbed Polston of First Amendment Religious Liberty. In Contrast to the deference to Zufari, the college’s actions not only upheld the Professor’s Religious Liberty but also declared Islam supreme over all religious faiths making Christians and other non-Muslims into dhimmis on American soil.

JRH 3/28/17 (Hat Tip Liberty Headlines)

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Christian student suspended after challenging Muslim prof’s claim that Jesus wasn’t crucified

 

By WILLIAM NARDI – LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

MARCH 27, 2017

The College Fix

 

A student says he was suspended from Rollins College for challenging his Muslim professor’s anti-Christian assertions, including her claim that Jesus’ crucifixion never took place.

 

Twenty-year-old Marshall Polston, a sophomore at the private, Florida-based four-year college, said that the professor of his Middle Eastern Humanities class also told students that Jesus’ disciples did not believe he was God.

 

Polston, an avid traveler and self-described Christian, has toured the Middle East and is familiar with the Muslim culture.

 

“Honestly, it reminded me of some of the more radical groups I researched when abroad,” Polston told the Central Florida Postabout his professor’s comments on Jesus.

 

“Whether religious or not, I believe even those with limited knowledge of Christianity can agree that according to the text, Jesus was crucified and his followers did believe he was divine… that he was ‘God,’” he continued. “Regardless, to assert the contrary as academic fact is not supported by the evidence.”

 

Polston, in a message to The College Fix on Saturday, said he stands behind his assertions in the Post article. He said he is upset he was suspended and has hired an attorney.

 

“Our university should be a place where free-speech flashes and ideas can be spoken of without punishment or fear of retribution,” Polston told The College Fix. “In my case it was the total opposite. … I came forward with the story because I know so many other students like me suffer under today’s liberal academic elite.”

 

The professor, Areej Zufari, as well as a campus spokesperson, could not be reached by The College Fix late Sunday. However, the Central Florida Post reports that it tried numerous times to obtain comment from Rollins College and Professor Zufari to no avail.

 

Polston claims the situation began after he challenged Zufari’s assertions about Jesus and his disciples. Polston said this challenge led Zufari to file a complaint with a campus dean, claiming he made her feel “unsafe.”

 

Next, Polston received a 52 percent on a major essay.

 

“I was upset, understandably. I’ve never gotten anything less than straight A’s, so I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade,” Polston told the Post.

 

On another day during the course, Zufari led a discussion about the application of Sharia Law. Polston claims that during this discussion, a male Muslim student said gays and adulterers should be beheaded under Sharia Law.

 

“I spoke out to the professor about the grade and subsequently the decapitation comments made by the student,” Polston told The Fix. “The statement by the conservative Muslim student met such fear by some that one of the students reported it to the FBI. Later, I was reported by the professor to the dean of campus safety. The situation was surreal. We’ve already had one too many attacks in Orlando and as an avid traveler I realized this was the perfect example of ‘see something, say something.’”

 

Zufari, for her part, posted on Facebook to the ACLU of Florida, complaining about an unnamed student that is “making my life hell this semester. This one is spewing hatred at me, de-railing class, and just sent me a hateful email threatening me…I want to know if there is a way to hold the individual responsible for his harassment and hate speech. Any ideas? Thank you!”

 

According to the March 24 suspension letter, Polston’s “actions have constituted a threat of disruption within the operations of the College and jeopardize the safety and well-being of members of the College community and yourself.”

 

Those alleged actions are not spelled out within the document. Nonetheless, Polston was given strict directions not to set foot on campus or have any contact with Zufari in the letter.

 

However, claims that Polston violated the terms of his suspension and came to harass the class this past Thursday were lodged. A campus safety report obtained by The College Fix states:

 

“Student ______ stated to me that she looked out the back glass door of the classroom and saw Mr. Polston staring into the room. He briefly stopped then proceeded on his way. Campus safety was immediately notified and responded at 19:36 hours. A search was conducted but Mr. Polston was not found. Ms. Zufari’s students were upset and did not feel comfortable being in the class. Ms. Zufari dismissed her class early at 20:07 hours.”

 

Polston has completely refuted these claims, however, offering video footage of his whereabouts — at a restaurant over a half-hour away from the school.

 

As for Rollins College, this isn’t the first time its officials have acted unfavorably toward Christian students.

 

In 2013, college officials kicked a Christian group off of campus for their conservative beliefs and threatened to pull funding from Christian student groups that would not allow non-Christian students to be in the club’s leadership. Later that year students were told that they could not hold private Bible studies in their dorm rooms, Fox News reported.

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Florida College Turns Religious Liberty into Dhimmitude

John R. Houk

© March 28, 2017

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Christian student suspended after challenging Muslim prof’s claim that Jesus wasn’t crucified

 

Zach Swaim contributed to this report.

 

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COPYRIGHT © 2017 THE COLLEGE FIX, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

About the Fix

The Student Free Press Association is a nonprofit organization run by veteran journalists to help beginning journalists. With our higher-education news website, The College Fix, we work with college-aged writers, bloggers, tweeters, podcasters, and viral video makers for the purpose of identifying and supporting young people who seek to improve campus journalism, explore careers in the media, and commit themselves to the principles of a free society. We tell stories, spot talent and READ THE REST