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Catholic School Principal’s Title VII Suit Dismissed Under “Ministerial Exception”

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Fratello v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, (SD NY, March 29, 2016), a New York federal district court held that the “ministerial exception” to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act precludes the former lay principal of a Catholic elementary school from suing for employment discrimination.  Plaintiff alleged that her employment was terminated as a result of gender discrimination and retaliation. In relying on the ministerial exception doctrine as set out in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 Hosanna-Tabor decision, the district court said in part:

There is no dispute that Plaintiff is not a member of the clergy and that she would not be considered a minister for purposes of Church governance. But the issue here is one of U.S., not canon, law, and “minister” for purposes of the ministerial exception has a far broader meaning than it does for internal Church purposes.

You can learn more about this issue here.

The United Shapes of Arithmetic: An Adjustment

Nathan Rudolph, my friend and fellow parishioner at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, has started a comic strip which I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated.  With his permission, I will repost them here after he posts them.  I think my readers will appreciate them as much as I do as they are rather insightful with a snarky edge.  Enjoy!

Here are the links to the previously posted strips:

Here is the latest strip:

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Sikhs Sue Over Army Accommodation of Religious Practices

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“A lawsuit was filed yesterday by three observant Sikhs who have enlisted in the Army, but who are encountering difficulties in obtaining accommodation to allow them to continue to wear beards, uncut hair, and turbans.  The 54 page complaint (full text) in Singh v. McConville, (D DC, filed 3/29/2016), alleges in part:

[T]he Army has a long pattern and practice of discriminating against Sikhs…. The Army’s regulations promise that soldiers whose religious exercise poses no significant obstacle to the military’s mission will be generously accommodated…. [H]owever, the regulations themselves are defective and foster religious discrimination on a number of levels…. [T]hey force soldiers who need religious accommodations to violate their religious beliefs before they can apply for an accommodation, even if their religious exercises would clearly have no impact on the military’s compelling interests.

The regulations are also … require soldiers to reapply for a religious accommodation every time they have a “transfer of duty stations, or other significant change in circumstances”….. The ambiguity in the regulations also creates an environment where the Army feels free to delay resolving requests for accommodation for long periods of time, leaving future soldiers in limbo and potentially forcing them to forgo other education and career opportunities while they wait for the Army’s decision.

Becket Fund issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

The United Shapes of Arithmetic: Change the World

Nathan Rudolph, my friend and fellow parishioner at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, has started a comic strip which I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated.  With his permission, I will repost them here after he posts them.  I think my readers will appreciate them as much as I do as they are rather insightful with a snarky edge.  Enjoy!

Here are the links to the previously posted strips:

Here is the latest strip:

https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/20622126_1267643976675547_2805781926123619798_n.jpg?oh=fd6b6c7c96ed2b0663c8e4dbed7a74f2&oe=59FC5F4E

Supreme Court In Unusual Order Floats Alternative Compromise In Contraceptive Mandate Cases

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued an unusual Order (full text) in Zubik v. Burwell and the six other cases consolidated with it, less than a week after the Court heard oral arguments in the case.  In what is apparently an attempt to avoid a 4-4 split in the case, the Court has essentially drafted its own version of a compromise on provision of contraceptive coverage in health insurance policies for employees of religious non-profits, and is asking the parties whether they will buy into it. The Order reads in part:

The parties are directed to file supplemental briefs that address whether and how contraceptive coverage may be obtained by petitioners’ employees through petitioners’ insurance companies, but in a way that does not require any involvement of petitioners beyond their own decision to provide health insurance without contraceptive coverage to their employees.  Petitioners with insured plans are currently required to submit a form either to their insurer or to the Federal Government (naming petitioners’ insurance company), stating that petitioners object on religious grounds to providing contraceptive coverage. The parties are directed to address whether contraceptive coverage could be provided to petitioners’ employees, through petitioners’ insurance companies, without any such notice from petitioners.

For example, the parties should consider a situation in which petitioners would contract to provide health insurance for their employees, and in the course of obtaining such insurance, inform their insurance company that they do not want their health plan to include contraceptive coverage of the type to which they object on religious grounds. Petitioners would have no legal obligation to provide such contraceptive coverage, would not pay for such coverage, and would not be required to submit any separate notice to their insurer, to the Federal Government, or to their employees. At the same time, petitioners’ insurance company—aware that petitioners are not providing certain contraceptive coverage on religious grounds—would separately notify petitioners’ employees that the insurance company will provide cost-free contraceptive coverage, and that such coverage is not paid for by petitioners and is not provided through petitioners’ health plan.

The parties may address other proposals along similar lines, avoiding repetition of discussion in prior briefing…..

Initial reactions from the non-profits suggest that they may be willing to accept this version of the compromise. A press release from the Becket Fund, counsel for Little Sisters of The Poor, petitioners in one of the cases, describes the Court’s Order as an “excellent development.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

The United Shapes of Arithmetic: The Bills

Nathan Rudolph, my friend and fellow parishioner at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, has started a comic strip which I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated.  With his permission, I will repost them here after he posts them.  I think my readers will appreciate them as much as I do as they are rather insightful with a snarky edge.  Enjoy!

Here are the links to the previously posted strips:

Here is the latest strip:

https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/19958894_1245799878859957_6719711541642677281_n.jpg?oh=9b8d110dce834669b811d96b7c310f78&oe=5A00B04C

Suit Challenges Pennsylvania City’s Abortion Clinic Buffer Zone

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“Last week, three women who regularly act as pro-life “sidewalk counselors” outside two abortion clinics filed suit in a Pennsylvania federal district court challenging the constitutionality of Harrisburg’s “Interference With Access To Health Care Facilities” Ordinance.  The ordinance bars congregating, patrolling, picketing or demonstrating within 20 feet of any health care facility entrance, exit or driveway.  The complaint (full text) in Reilly v. City of Harrisburg, (MD PA, filed 3/24/2016) contends that the ordinance violates freedom of expression, free exercise of religion, freedom of assembly, equal protection and due process rights. Liberty Counsel announced the filing of the lawsuit. ”

You can learn more about this issue here.

A ‘transgender’ kindergartner registered at my kids’ school. That’s when the madness began.

Every now and again I come across a fantastic article the warrants posting here; I recently came across one in Lifesite News which, I thought, was pretty insightful. Be edified.

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As a mother of seven, I have no doubts about my conviction that biological sex is a fundamental reality; giving birth many times over has made an incredibly persuasive argument in that regard. Though I’ve been blessed with a large community of Catholic and Christian friends who share my views, in secular circles more and more people have come to see embodied sex as merely a social construct. So you can imagine my surprise when I found that I had allies in the feminist and lesbian community. Though we disagree on a multitude of issues, the Hands Across the Aisle coalition has found common ground in our shared womanhood, our concern for sex-based rights, and our collective refusal to redefine sex as gender identity.

We recently came together to speak on a panel at The Heritage Foundation. You can watch that panel here.

In October 2015, I received an email from my children’s school principal that a gender non-conforming kindergartner had arrived. A whole host of demands quickly followed this announcement.

Everyone in this coalition has a story to tell and a reason behind her involvement. For me, it was as a mother to public school students that I first encountered the idea of gender as individualism gone mad. Likewise, it is as a mother concerned with the well-being of all children that I thoroughly reject the idea of a “gender identity.”

The belief that one’s internal sense of self determines maleness or femaleness and that subjective feelings take precedence over an objective physical reality constitutes a severing of mind from body. Our sex is who we are: it can’t be amputated from our body like a limb. But the true believers in gender ideology are hard at work, pulling in converts to this gnostic worldview that shuns the material that we humans are made of: the body. You can be assured that an ideology like this will, to use Pope Francis’s words, lead to the “annihilation of man” in our culture, in the law, and in the lives of those who fall prey to the tenets of this weaponized “civil rights” movement.

What worries me most is that schools across the country are quashing debate, abandoning academic excellence, and reducing themselves to pawns in a political movement whose claims are highly questionable, unscientific, and harmful to children. Public schools have a duty to serve all children, but a school cannot serve children and a totalitarian ideology all at once.

Transgender Ideology at My Children’s School

In October 2015, I received an email from my children’s school principal that a gender non-conforming kindergartner had arrived. A whole host of demands quickly followed this announcement. The bathrooms, the locker rooms, the uniforms—every aspect of the school’s practices that differentiated between the sexes would have to be made gender neutral. It was just the beginning of a wild ride into a world where schools have become “indoctrination hubs” and biological sex no longer exists.

A series of surreal events unfolded at our school.

Parents were told that students from kindergarten to fifth grade would have to be taught that gender identity, sex, and gender expression were all free-floating concepts, through insipid children’s books and propaganda framed as anti-bullying activism. These demands were, of course, a Trojan horse for trans advocacy in the classroom. This is a common tactic.

Parents were told that the school would be in direct violation of the law—specifically, Title IX and our state’s anti-bullying law—if the school didn’t equate sex with gender identity in policy and practice.

Parents were told—by the school’s lawyer!—that free speech creates a “hostile environment” when it critiques the transgender issue. Letters that parents wrote to the school board for public comment were heavily redacted. In some cases, 90 percent of the letter was blacked out.

The high school science teacher proclaimed that sex exists on a spectrum, and that sex is “assigned at birth.”

Parents hosted a presentation (which they had to pay for themselves) to provide a counterpoint to the biased treatment the school had given the gender identity issue. Well over a hundred local pro-LGBTQ protesters came to the presentation, prompting the local police to send a sergeant and two patrolling squads as protection.

Finally, even after a de facto gender inclusion policy was passed, a complaint was filed against the school with our city’s Department of Human Rights, claiming the school had refused this transgender child the ability to “transition” safely at school. In a totalitarian regime, nothing but total capitulation is acceptable.

Sacrificing Truth, Science, and Children’s Well-Being

So, what can we expect to see if we sit back and allow gender identity to trump biological sex in school policies?

First, schools will teach children to accept an ideology that is predicated on the lie that biological sex plays second fiddle to a self-proclaimed, subjective gender identity, and that the sex of one’s body is mutable or even irrelevant. This isn’t just an idea that you can tuck away in a unit study or an anti-bullying presentation. It will inevitably find its way into every aspect of a school and make a deep impression on the developing minds of children. For example, girls, under the regressive mandates of anti-bullying and gender inclusion policies, would have to agree to call boys in their locker room “girls,” effectively losing their rights to free speech and to privacy from males. And science—particularly biology—would die a quick death at the hands of a concept that necessarily eradicates observable facts about human sexuality. Gender ideology in the curriculum is a lie enshrined as truth.

Second, institutionalizing gender ideology will require that schools ignore the evidence that it causes real harm to children. You can’t extol the virtues of gender ideology and question its soundness at the same time. By celebrating transgenderism as a valid identity, schools are promoting a body-mind disconnect that may very well bring on the gender dysphoric state they were attempting to prevent. And when the widely accepted “affirmative” medical treatments of gender dysphoria in children are both poorly studied and glaringly injurious, we have nothing to celebrate.

We’re building a school-to-gender-clinic pipeline that will feed this new pediatric specialty with young patients. There are now more than thirty gender clinics specializing in youth across the United States, and the young patients who are under their care are often given bone-destroying puberty blockers at eleven, potentially sterilized with cross-sex hormones at sixteen, and permanently mutilated by plastic surgery soon after that.

Make no mistake, schools that endorse and celebrate transgenderism as valid are endorsing child abuse.

It’s Time to Speak Up

So, my fellow parents, I ask you:

Will we allow our young and vulnerable children to be fed a false anthropology rather than teaching them to speak the truth boldly?

Will we consent to our children’s sterilization rather than patiently guiding them toward an appreciation of their bodies?

Will we treat our children’s mental health issues with double mastectomies rather than demand that doctors provide a true remedy?

As a woman, mother, and member of Hands Across the Aisle, I answer with a resolute NO to each and every one of these questions. My children need me to look out for them as only a parent can do, with love, vigilance, and patience that refuses to condone self-harm masquerading as self-knowledge. For some mothers, this proves to be a gargantuan task, as they watch their teenagers fall under the spell of gender via social contagionYouTube binges, and trans activists disguised as therapists. These parents deserve our encouragement and assistance through friendship, political action, and our voice in the public square.

Somehow we’ve come to a place where women who demand their gym shower be female-only are accused of bigotry, radical feminists are threatened with a fiery death for refusing to call men “women,” and lesbians are accused of being transphobes for refusing the sexual advances of trans “women.” The women of the Hands Across the Aisle coalition have had enough of this poisonous ideology. It is our intention to use our collective passion and resources to make space in the public square for all voices that are critical of redefining sex as gender identity. I am honored by this extraordinary opportunity to unite a Christian opposition to the concept of gender identity with that of my radical feminist and lesbian sisters, who have long provided intelligent and insightful criticisms of gender identity as a threat to women in law and culture.

At Hands Across the Aisle, we hope to embolden women to speak up for the hard-earned rights they will lose if gender identity is allowed to eclipse sex. I hope you will join me in refuting gender ideology wherever you see it, but most especially in schools where it strikes at the very heart of what it means to educate.

Emily Zinos works as a consultant with Ask Me First MN, a project of the Minnesota Family Council in partnership with the Family Policy Alliance.

Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute.

Published on April 21, 2017 in Lifesite News and can be found here.

Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C.’s American Airlines Cases Have Been Featured in News Outlets Across the Country

The Melissa Chinery and Laura Medlin cases against American Airlines, cases currently being litigated by my firm, the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C., have been featured in many articles across the country.  These articles have been featured in this blog and are all linked below.

  • World News Network (“Allegedly called a ‘sow:’ 2 flight attendants sue American Airlines over online harassment”)
  • CBS8 San Diego (“Flight Attendants Sue American Airlines Claiming They Were Called ‘Sows’ and Prostitutes”)
  • Inside Edition (“Flight Attendants Sue American Airlines Claiming They Were Called ‘Sows’ and Prostitutes”)
  • The Charlotte Observer (“American Airlines flight attendants sue, say they’ve been called sows, prostitutes and worse on Facebook”)
  • The Sacramento Bee (“Flight attendants sue, say they’ve been called sows, prostitutes and worse on Facebook”)
  • WBTV.com On Your Side (“Flight attendants sue, say they’ve been called sows, prostitutes and worse on Facebook”)
  • BVT News (“Allegedly Called a ‘Sow:’ 2 Flight Attendants Sue American Airlines Over Online Harassment”)
  • The Philly Voice (“Philly Flight Attendant Sues American Airlines Over Alleged Facebook Harassment”)
  • American Airlines Flight Attendants Sue Over Co-workers’ Facebook Posts (“American Airlines Flight Attendants Sue Over Co-workers’ Facebook Posts”)
  • Streetwise Report (“Myriad Genetics (MYGN) And American Airlines Group (AAL); Active Concerns Wondering Movers”)
  • Savvy Stews (“American Airlines Faces Workplace Harassment Lawsuits”)
  • Bloomberg BNA  (“American Flight Attendant Called ‘Sow’ Claims Bias Via Facebook”)

Why is no one talking about Alabama’s frickin’ awesome marriage bill?

Every now and again I come across a fantastic article the warrants posting here; I recently came across one in Conservative Review which, I thought, was pretty insightful. Be edified.

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A state-level marriage bill in Alabama is showing a potential way forward for balancing marriage and religious freedom in post-Obergefell America.

It’s been nearly two years since the Supreme Court issued its Obergefell ruling. Since then, Kim Davis went to jail, was released, and finally ended her lawsuit just a few months ago, but that really doesn’t give an answer the serious questions about the nature of marriage and the power of the government to redefine.

Last week, the Yellowhammer State’s Senate passed a measure that would abolish marriage licenses altogether while removing ceremonial requirements for obtaining marriage.

Instead of the state issuing documents and requiring that agents of the state take part in the marriage process, the state would simply record affidavits of marriage between two consenting parties.

The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Greg Albritton, (R), introduced similar legislation last year, which never became law. It’s also similar to a measure that was introduced in the Oklahoma legislature in 2015.

“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties,” Albritton told the Associated Press in regards to his efforts last year. He continued, saying:

Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred.

This would eliminate situations in which conscientious objectors to same sex marriage in the government could be forced to directly cooperate with something contrary to their faith, while not blocking access to marriage contracts for same-sex couples. More importantly, it gets the state closer to its appropriate level of involvement, which should be close to nothing.

Whether you believe that marriage is a covenant from God (in which case your church should be the primary arbiter) or a simple contract between two people with happy feelings (in which your interest in equal application of the law) this arrangement looks like it would work out for everyone.

Firstly, marriage is something that is rightly handled by institutions and communities to begin with, not by bureaucrats and politicians. Sure, the government has abiding interests therein, but — in a system where the institution has been reduced as Scalia put it “to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie” — those should be limited to little more than property rights.

The idea that the modern state should act as a barrier between free people and that institution has created a crisis of federalism between the states and the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the government’s involvement provided the legal track for Obergefell to happen in the first place. In other words, if marriage is the government’s business it only made sense that government would redefine it once the cultural winds shifted.

The only reasons to preserve the current state of things is if you either 1. Entertain the idea of states being able to uphold natural marriage (which didn’t work pre-Obergefell) or 2. Want to continue treating the state as an arbiter of a pre-political institution, which doesn’t make sense either.

Which is precisely why this new Alabama marriage bill could be the solution for everyone.

Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, immigration, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook

By Nate Madden and originally published in Conservative Review on March 15, 2017 and can be seen here.

 

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