On Christianity - page 14
-- The ACLU's Unholy War on Catholic Hospitals
-- Son of Hamas warns U.S. fatally falling for lies
-- Islam-to-Christian conversion allowed
-- Judge Extends Order for Boy to Return to Public School that Suspended Him for Wearing a Rosary
-- School sued after teachers hide in closets to pray
The ACLU's Unholy War on Catholic Hospitals
Monday, December 27, 2010
Ho, ho, ho! Just in time for Christmas, the American Civil Liberties Union has launched a new salvo against people of faith. Even as billions around the world celebrate the birth of Christ, joyless, abortion-obsessed secularists never take a holiday.
On Wednesday, the ACLU sent a letter to federal health officials urging the government to force Catholic hospitals in the U.S. to perform abortions in violation of their core moral commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn. They're counting on sympathetic Obama rationing czar Donald Berwick -- a recess appointee whose radical views on wealth and health redistribution were never vetted by Congress -- to dictate which religious principles hospital operators can and cannot follow.
The ACLU reiterated its call for a federal probe -- read: fishing expedition -- of Catholic hospitals nationwide that refuse to provide "emergency" contraception and abortions to women. In practice, of course, every request for abortion is an "emergency" to the left.
The Catholic Church makes clear that it is morally permissible under certain circumstances to treat directly the cause of the mother's medical condition, even if those efforts unintentionally and indirectly cost the baby's life. But Catholic health providers must never directly trade one life for another.
Civil liberties activists have a particular vendetta against devout Phoenix Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who recently revoked the Catholic status of a rogue hospital that performed several direct abortions, provided birth control pills and presided over sterilizations against the church's ethical and religious directives for health care. "It would be unfaithful to pretend the institution is still Catholic," Olmsted concluded.
"The dioceses cannot be permitted to dictate who lives and who dies in Catholic-owned hospitals," the ACLU's lawyers fumed in response.
But shall it be left to the ACLU and Obamacare bureaucrats to determine the Catholicity of a Catholic hospital?
And shall it be left to litigious secularists to sabotage the First Amendment rights of religious-based health care entities with impunity? No.
The ACLU now seeks to unilaterally rewrite a federal emergency medical treatment law passed by Congress in 1986 to mandate that all hospitals provide abortions. But for more than three decades, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, federal law has firmly established strong conscience protections for individual health care providers and hospitals who are reluctant or unwilling to "counsel, suggest, recommend, assist or in any way participate in the performance of abortions or sterilizations contrary to or consistent with" their "religious beliefs or moral convictions."
As the Washington-based Becket Fund, a public interest law firm that defends the free expression of all religious traditions, pointed out to the feds: "The ACLU has no business radically re-defining the meaning of emergency health care,' just as it has no business demanding that religious doctors and nurses violate their faith by performing a procedure they believe is tantamount to murder. Forcing religious hospitals to perform abortions not only undermines this nation's integral commitment to conscience rights, it violates the numerous federal laws that recognize and protect those rights."
According to the Catholic Health Association, Catholic health care facilities form the largest not-for-profit health service sector in the United States -- serving one out of every six patients in America and providing 15 percent of the hospital bed capacity in the country. Moreover, Catholic health care institutions employ about 540,000 full-time workers and 240,000 part-time workers.
If the abortion lobby gets its way, faithful Catholic hospitals and Catholic medical professionals who follow their consciences and adhere to canon law could see their federal funding yanked. And radical social engineers may well force the shutdown of countless Catholic hospitals at a time when Obamacare costs and consequences are already wreaking havoc on the health industry.
Fewer jobs, less access to health care, less freedom and more lives lost: Merry Christmas from the ACLU.
Son of Hamas warns U.S. fatally falling for lies
'Peaceful' Muslims following Quran's dictate to establish 'global Islamic state'
Posted: August 25, 2010 By Art Moore WorldNetDaily
As the son of a Hamas co-founder who became a Christian, a spy for Israel and a consultant to the Holy Land Foundation terror-finance trial, Mosab Hassan Yousef offers a rare perspective on the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood – at once the spawn of nearly every major Islamic terrorist group and of "mainstream" operatives in the U.S. such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Yousef, who recently was granted asylum in the U.S. after the Department of Homeland Security tried to deport him, told WND in a telephone interview Americans must understand that the ultimate goal of the highly influential Brotherhood is not terrorism but to establish a global Islamic state over the entire world.
"If they can establish this in a peaceful manner, that's fine," he said. "But they are required by the Quran to establish this global Islamic state on the rubble of every civilization, every constitution, every government."
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The Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas in 2008 – the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history – presented evidence of the Muslim Brotherhood's "100-year plan" to gradually destroy the U.S. and Western civilization from within "so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
"This is not a doctrine of some freak Muslim," Yousef observed. "It's the doctrine, the requirement, of the god of Islam himself and his prophet, whom they praise every day."
One of the Brotherhood's prime strategies to help achieve its ultimate aim is to spin off groups such as the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, that attempt to give Islam a positive face, he pointed out.
CAIR, casting itself as a human rights organization, has often been called on by government and media to represent Muslims in the U.S. But it's origin as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is now widely documented, including in the WND Books best-selling expose "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America"
CAIR and some of its leaders were confirmed by the Justice Department as unindicted co-conspirators in the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, which was convicted of helping fund Hamas. An FBI letter to lawmakers in April 2009 explained the bureau suspended all formal contacts with CAIR because of evidence the group was founded as a front in the U.S. for Hamas. Among numerous government relationships, CAIR leaders had regular meetings with top FBI brass on security issues and helped lead FBI Muslim "sensitivity training" sessions.
At the Holy Land Foundation trial, the FBI presented a transcript from a wiretap of a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia in which Hamas supporters sought to establish Muslim organizations in the U.S. "whose Islamic hue is not very conspicuous." CAIR was soon founded by two Palestinian participants in the Philadelphia meeting, Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad.
Wiretaps revealed Ahmad argued for using Muslims as an "entry point" to "pressure Congress and the decision makers in America" to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. One FBI official quoted in "Muslim Mafia" says CAIR and the other Muslim Brotherhood front groups differ from al-Qaida only in their methods.
"The only difference between the guys in the suits and the guys with the AK-47s is timing and tactics," the official explained.
CAIR, meanwhile – which has more than a dozen former and current leaders with known associations with violent jihad – is trying to keep alive a lawsuit against WND and two investigators behind "Muslim Mafia."
While CAIR repeatedly has denied it receives foreign support, the covert operation that produced "Muslim Mafia" obtained video footage that captured CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper boasting of his ability to bring in a half million dollars of "overseas money," including from Saudi Arabia.
Money continues to flow in the other direction, as well, Yousef said.
He noted the FBI documented that the Holy Land Foundation sent $12.4 million from the U.S. to Hamas committees. But based on his 10 years of experience as a spy for the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet, he believes many times that amount has been smuggled to Hamas in cash.
As an example, Yousef cited the case of a Palestinian terror operative he met in prison who was arrested transporting $100,000 after Shin Bet provided information to law enforcement authorities.
"I guarantee you that there still people who collect money in mosques that go directly to Hamas in cash," Yousef said. "And this is a problem that the government doesn't have control over. Obama doesn't have control over this money."
'Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood'
Hamas itself was formed in 1987 as part of the Muslim Brotherhood's strategy to advance the movement by spinning off new organizations, Yousef said.
"If they have a confrontation with Israel as the Muslim Brotherhood, they are going to pay a very high price," he explained. "So they choose people like my father, from the Muslim Brotherhood originally, and they ask them to establish an independent movement that shares the same exact doctrine."
As WND reported, Yousef worked alongside his father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, in the West Bank city of al-Ghaniya near Ramallah while secretly embracing Christian faith and serving as a Shin Bet spy. Since publicly declaring his faith in August 2008, he has been condemned by an al-Qaida-affiliated group and disowned by his family.
"Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood," Yousef said. "It's the same organization."
The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in the 1920s in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Turkish empire, considers itself an instrument of the charge Muslims have been given since Islam's founding 1,400 years ago – to make the Quran and Allah's authority supreme over the entire world.
Along with CAIR, prominent U.S. organizations launched by Muslim Brotherhood leaders include the Muslim Students Association, North American Islamic Trust, the Islamic Society of North America, the American Muslim Council, the Muslim American Society and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.
"Before we start to listen to their lies," Yousef said, "we have to ask ourselves all the time, what is the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood? Ask them, 'What do you want?'"
He said the Muslim Brotherhood "will keep the hope and the ultimate goal very clear in the eyes of every Muslim who belongs to the organization that one day [we will] establish an Islamic state and establish Shariah law."
In unusually candid moments, CAIR leaders have expressed that aim.
CAIR founder Ahmad was reported telling a Muslim group in the San Francisco Bay area that Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant and that the Quran should become the highest authority in America and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth. CAIR spokesman Hooper indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune he wants to see the U.S. become a Muslim country "through education."
The West, Yousef said, has fallen for the "lie" that there are two types of Islam, radical and moderate. While there may be individual Muslims who are radical or moderate, Islam itself is not moderate, he contends.
"Let's learn what Islam says about itself," Yousef said. "Forget about what the Muslim Brotherhood, what al-Qaida, what Hezbollah – what even Americans or Westerners say about Islam. Let's study and see what Islam says about itself, then we will understand why we have this problem."
'Buying the lie'
American foreign policy, especially under President Obama, he said, has "bought the lie of Muslim groups who are trying to make Islam look good in the eyes of Westerners."
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Because of that approach, he said, Muslim leaders such as Feisal Abdul Rauf have developed "the courage to come forward with a very aggressive symbol" of Islamic authority, the proposed Islamic center and mosque near the site of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.
"If it was any other American president, we wouldn't have this aggressive step," Yousef contended.
He noted the State Department has designated Rauf an ambassador to the Muslim world despite the imam's unwillingness to condemn Hamas as a terrorist group.
"Of course, he cannot condemn Hamas, because he knows that Hamas is an organization that is doing the will of Allah," Yousef said. "How can he condemn an organization that serves the same god that he worships every day five times?"
Yousef pointed out Rauf has claimed Obama based his highly publicized Cairo speech to the Muslim world last year on a chapter from the Arabic version of Rauf's book, "A Call to Prayer From the World Trade Center: Islamic Dawah in the Heart of America Post-9/11."
Obama asserted in the speech that violent extremists have exploited tensions between Muslims and the West, insisting Islam was not part of the problem but part of promoting peace.
'This is the red line'
Mosab Hassan Yousef
Defenders of the proposed Ground Zero mosque cite American Muslims' First Amendment freedoms to practice their religion.
But Yousef makes a distinction between Islam and other religions, arguing Islam is a subversive system that threatens America's very existence.
"Even if it's a religion, and 1.5 billion people around the world believe in it, this doesn't mean that they are right; and this doesn't mean that we compromise with them," he said. "We tell them, 'You're accepted, but guess what? This is the red line: We don't compromise with your god. We don't compromise with your belief system.'"
Yousef reasoned that he certainly would not be allowed to create a religion in which he demanded that his followers kill everyone who doesn't embrace his beliefs.
"Will I be able to register this religion here and build my symbols for this religion in this country?" he asked. "I will go to jail for that – and all my followers as well."
'A matter of life and death'
No one in the Middle East has the courage or the power to confront Islam, he said, but transformation can start in the most powerful country in the world.
"Instead of giving Islam credit, this is the country where we can start to fight – not against Muslims, against the bad teachings of Islam."
Americans can begin, he said, by "understanding the real nature of Islam."
"I am telling you, this is not a matter of politics," he said. "It's a matter of life and death. It's a matter of hundreds of millions who have been killed because of this deadly ideology of Islam that has been here 1,400 years."
Mosab Hassan Yousef in 2008 interview with Al-Hayat TV (Middle East Media Research Institute)
"This is the time" to speak out, he said, "especially here in America. This is the time to stand firm and strong against this crazy, big system."
Yousef said that while some may want to "scare people about Islam" for some kind of financial or personal profit, he is speaking out because of his concern for America and as "a person who loves my people."
"I cannot wait for them to be liberated," he said of his fellow Palestinians and Muslims worldwide. "And when I see the example of liberty and freedom in this country, I want this to go to my people."
If America leads the way in confronting Islam, change can come, he said.
"But if the country of liberty and freedom welcomes a radical and violent belief that wants to destroy everything, we won't be able to defeat them," he said.
"This is why we need to work all together. This is not for America only. This is for the world. This is for the future of humanity."
IMPORTANT NOTE: The CAIR legal attack on WND's author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of "Muslim Mafia" co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR's lawsuit. Already, the book's revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can't do it without your help. Please donate to WND's Legal Defense Fund now.
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Islam-to-Christian conversion allowed
Court determines failing to stop teen is not neglect
Posted: July 12, 2010 By Bob Unruh WorldNetDaily
A woman working in a government foster care system has won a court determination that she should be reinstated months after she was suspended for failing to prevent a Muslim girl from converting to Christianity.
According to the Christian Institute, which worked on behalf of the woman whose name was withheld to prevent the teen from being identified, the case erupted in November 2008 when the Gateshead Council in the United Kingdom discovered the girl, 16 at the time and of age to make her own faith choices, converted.
The government agency simply "deregistered" the foster mother, preventing her from participating in her work: service to needy children.
Now, however, a High Court ruling has reversed the council's actions.
Nigel Priestley, senior partner with Ridley and Hall of Huddlesfield, explained his client had offered the government agency "every opportunity" to reverse itself.
"If other people of faith in positions of responsibility find themselves in a similar situation, they should not be frightened of standing up for what they believe," he told the Institute.
The woman told the organization she was pleased with the result, even thought it's been both traumatic and expensive.
"The whole thing has been a living nightmare," the women said. "I just want to get my life back. I am negotiating with the local authority to see what proposals they will make to restore my battered financial state."
She said the precipitous loss of income cost her the farmhouse she had rented to provide for foster children.
Mike Judge of the Christian Institute said, "There is clearly a lack of understanding about religious rights amongst individuals in Children's Services at Gateshead. All local authorities should take a hard look at this case and ensure they do not repeat Gateshead's mistakes."
The case developed when, although the girl was 16 and had made up her own mind to change religion, the foster care provider, a Christian who already had worked successfully with dozens of children, was not able to stop her.
The local government's plan was to keep the girl away from her chosen church – an evangelical Christian assembly – for six months and encourage her to take part in "normal" teen activities.
According to testimony in the case, the teen already was exploring Christianity before she was placed in the foster home. But when she announced she wanted to be baptized as a Christian, local government officials claimed the foster care giver "failed" to preserve the girl's religion.
This came, according to reports, even though authorities found before the baptism the girl's emotional needs were being met and the caregiver was showing understanding and respect for the girl's culture.
The girl had been placed in foster care after allegedly being assaulted by a family member.
The caretaker testified, "I offered her alternatives. I offered to find places for her to practice her own religion. I offered to take her to friends or family. But she said to me from the word go, 'I am interested [in Christianity] and I want to come [to church]."
Mike Judge commented, "I cannot imagine that an atheist foster carer would be struck off if a Christian child in her care stopped believing in God. This is the sort of double standard which Christians are facing.
"In recent months we have seen grandparents, a nurse, adoption agencies, firemen, registrars, elderly care homes – and now a foster carer – being punished because of the Christian beliefs they hold. It has to stop," he said.
Council officials declined to comment.
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Judge Extends Order for Boy to Return to Public School that Suspended
Him for Wearing a Rosary
Friday, June 11, 2010 By Nick Dean
(CNSNews.com) – A federal district court extended an order on Wednesday that allows a 13-year-old boy to return to his public school wearing his rosary until at least Sept. 10. The boy, Raymond Hosier, had been suspended from Oneida Middle School for wearing a Catholic rosary, which he had worn since the age of seven after his brother was killed in a car accident.
Hosier, a seventh-grader at the school in Schenectady, New York, was suspended for the day on Monday, May 17 for wearing his rosary. School officials claimed the rosary beads were gang-related and that Hosier had violated its dress code, which prohibits students from wearing anything it deems to be “gang related.”
The school’s dress code, however, does not specifically mention rosary beads. But the student dress code says, "A student's dress, grooming and appearance, including hair, jewelry, make-up and nails, shall: ... Not denote, represent or be deemed to be gang related, included but not limited to bandanas, colors, flags or beads."
It further states, "Students who violate the student dress code shall be required to modify their appearance by covering or removing the offending item and, if necessary or practical, replacing it with an acceptable item. Any student who refuses to do so shall be subject to disciplinary action."
On Tuesday, May 18, Hosier returned to school wearing his rosary and went unnoticed. On Wednesday, May 19, however, Hosier was suspended for the remainder of the week for again wearing a rosary.
The boy returned to school the following Monday, May 24, wearing his rosary. At that time, the district suspended him indefinitely.
Hosier did not go back to school until a court issued a temporary restraining order on June 1, which said Hosier could wear his rosary to school.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Lawerence E. Kahn extended that temporary restraining order.
According to a press release from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the conservative group that represents Hosier, the extension of the temporary restraining order means that “school officials are enjoined from preventing Raymond from attending school while wearing the rosary outside his clothing through September 10, 2010.”
According to Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, the court case arguing that Hosier’s rights were violated will continue.
“It’s important that Raymond be permitted to complete this school year with his rosary in place,” Sekulow said in the press release. “By extending the order, the school district has a window of opportunity to utilize common sense. We stand ready to resolve this issue -- either inside or outside court -- to ensure that Raymond’s rights are permanently protected.”
Ed White, senior counsel for the ACLJ, said the public school district’s current dress code is foundationally unconstitutional.
“In this regard, the dress code is unconstitutional because it doesn’t define what is gang related,” White said. “Anything the school doesn’t like they could define as gang related, even the rosary beads that the boy was wearing clearly for religious reasons.”
Hosier was not wearing the rosary for religious reasons alone.
According to White, when Hosier was seven years old he witnessed the death of his older brother who was hit by an SUV.
“The family got those rosary beads as his brother lay dying there [in the hospital] and those are the same rosary beads that Raymond wears now,” White said.
Additionally, White said Hosier’s uncle, a former U.S. Marine, died three weeks ago from brain cancer and was one of Hosier’s many influences who taught him about the rosary.
“He wears [a rosary] for his brother and his uncle and for his religious reasons,” White said. “Raymond’s uncle taught him, ‘You fight for what you believe in.’ That is even more reason for Raymond not to back down from his rights."
School sued after teachers hide in closets to pray
ACLU-designed consent decree banning 'God bless' targeted
Posted: May 04, 2010 By Bob Unruh WorldNetDaily
Teachers say they are literally forced to pray in school closets to avoid contempt charges
A Florida school district is being accused in a lawsuit of making a deal with the ACLU to criminalize "protected religious expression," banning students from saying "God bless" and forcing teachers to "hide in closets to pray."
The claims against Santa Rosa County School District come in a complaint filed today by Liberty Counsel, which has been involved in the dispute just about from the beginning.
The original issue was that two students – whose names were withheld – complained that staff or faculty members were expressing their religious views at places such as off-campus dinners to honor school workers.
Liberty Counsel lawyers said they volunteered to work for free for the school to protect the First Amendment rights at issue.
"But the school district decided instead to shake hands with the ACLU, pay the ACLU $200,000 in legal fees, and voluntarily enter into the Consent Decree that obliterates religious freedom and makes a mockery of the First Amendment," Liberty Counsel said in its description of the conflict.
Since then, three school officials have faced civil and criminal contempt charges demanded by the ACLU and the school district but have been cleared.
The decree, however, still is having impacts.
"Students can no longer say 'God Bless,' teachers must hide in closets to pray, parents cannot communicate frankly with teachers, volunteers cannot answer any questions regarding religion, Christian groups cannot rent school facilities for private religious functions benefiting students, and pastors are dictated how they can and cannot seat their audiences at private, religious baccalaureate services held inside their own houses of worship," Liberty Counsel said.
The dispute remains volatile. WND reported only days ago that Liberty Counsel confirmed it was "game over" because the ACLU admitted in court documents that the two anonymous plaintiffs graduated from the district's Pace High School in May 2009, effectively ending the court's jurisdiction in the case.
The problem is that the consent decree and a long series of court orders had been continued after that technical stopping point was reached.
At the time, Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew D. Staver said, "Even a first-year law student knows that federal courts cannot enforce a consent degree absent jurisdiction over the parties. Now that the plaintiffs' graduation has been confirmed, Liberty Counsel will ask the court to vacate the consent decree and every other decision it has rendered since the graduation of these two plaintiffs."
Other penalties also are a possibility, the law firm said.
School officials, contacted by WND, refused to comment directly on the case.
Instead, the school issued a statement accusing Liberty Counsel of making errors in its press release, and claimed "staff is only prohibited from promoting their own religious beliefs to students in their capacity as teachers."
The statement, released to WND by Marilyne Pugh, secretary to Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick, continued, "Further, parents may certainly communicate with teachers as they wish and nothing in the consent decree outlaws such communications. Religious groups may and do have access to district facilities on the same basis as other community groups. The district does not have any say as to how a minister chooses to seat the congregation. The court's order, however, would not permit group seating of teachers in a manner that would give the clear appearance of the school endorsing the baccalaureate, which is a religious event."
The statement also complained that "new litigation" was arising that involves the school, "which will necessarily divert the attention of our staff from their primary function of education students and divert already sparse funds away from the classroom."
WND reported earlier on the case involving an order crafted by the ACLU requiring employees in the Santa Rosa School District to act in an "official capacity" whenever they are at a "school event" – including breaks, after-school events on or off campus and private events held on campus. The "official capacity" would include even when they are attending an athletic competition to watch their own children or grandchildren.
The new case is being brought on behalf of a long list of faculty, parents and students.
Named as defendants are the district and Wyrosdick. The case asks the court for preliminary and permanent relief halting any enforcement of the ACLU's consent degree.
The complaint alleges violations of the rights to freedom of speech, association, equal protection and free exercise of religion under the First and Fourteen Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
All of the plaintiffs, according to Liberty Counsel, "have been silenced, censored, intimidated or harassed by the school district and its partner, the American Civil Liberties Union."
The complaint outlined the problems for James T. Waters, an associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Milton.
He previously had organized and led programs called "Youth Alive" at Hobbs Middle School and "Differencemakers" at King Middle School by creating a curriculum and leading the events for students "who voluntarily attended them outside of regular school hours."
The events taught students responsibility, character, moral values and civil duties.
"Since the Santa Rosa County School Board makes public school facilities available for use by private individuals and groups outside of regular school hours, Plaintiff Waters decided that it would be most convenient to conduct these programs at public school facilities, so that students can attend them without the need for separate transportation to an off-campus facility," the lawsuit said.
Before the decree, the programs "were a great success." But after, school officials "felt compelled … to prohibit Plaintiff Waters from regularly attending these programs."
"They told him that … [he] could not longer be a regular speaker at the very programs he organized," the lawsuit said.
Among other limitations: "Defendant school board prohibit[s] teachers who attend privately-sponsored, voluntary religious events, held outside of school hours, from sitting together in one bloc, from wearing similar graduation attire … or from leading or directing the baccalaureate services."
The school even issued a list of words that "should not be used when creating an agenda for a program/event/activity" and that included "devotional pledge" "invocation" and "inspirational message."
Nor could the word "blessed" be on any school website. And the school banned forwarding any e-mail with any "religious message," banned references to a baccalaureate on the school calendar and even said this: "In conversation, if someone asks their supervisor, 'How are you?' may the supervisor respond with 'I am blessed?' Yes, as long as they do not elaborate on the connotation of blessed," the school said.
According to a report at Values Voter News, a clerk in the school, Michelle Winkler, told of hiding inside a closet in the school when a co-worker sought comfort from her after the loss of the co-worker's 2-year-old child.
The two hid in the closet because they were worried about being seen and being held in contempt of court under the ACLU-negotiated decree.
Staver said in a Liberty Counsel report, "The errors in judgment by the ACLU and the school district are stunning. The school district agreed to enter into an unconstitutional consent decree that was legally effective for less than one month, then agreed to pay the ACLU a whopping $200,000, and then expended a great deal of additional resources to oppose Liberty Counsel’s intervention and defend the unconstitutional and moot consent decree."
As WND reported, Winkler faced contempt charges after her husband read a prayer at a private banquet held at a naval base to honor non-instructional school-district employees. The judge eventually found Winkler's husband's prayer at a voluntary gathering outside of school did not violate any court order.
During her testimony, Winkler broke down on the witness stand as she told a story about how her co-worker sought comfort from her after losing her 2-year-old child.
Liberty Counsel earlier successfully defended Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman against criminal contempt charges after the ACLU complained when Freeman gave a 15-second blessing for a lunch meal for 20 adults with no students present.
The men had faced penalties of up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines each.
The case began in August 2008 when two anonymous students sued with the help of the ACLU over longstanding practices at the school allowing prayer at some events. The school's separate counsel had agreed to a consent decree that "essentially bans all Santa Rosa County School District employees from engaging in prayer or religious activities," Liberty Counsel reported.
Members of the 2009 graduating class at Florida's Pace High School expressed their objections to the ACLU restrictions on statements of religious faith at their school by rising up en masse at their ceremony and reciting the Lord's Prayer.
Nearly 400 graduating seniors at Pace stood up at their graduation, according to Staver. Parents, family and friends joined in the recitation and applauded the students when they were finished, Staver told WND.
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