A Canadian high school student, Josh Alexander, 16, is at the center of a free speech fight in Ontario after he was arrested and criminally charged for attempting to attend class in violation of an exclusion order. Alexander was suspended from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario after expressing his religious views on transgender status and rights. Continue reading “Canadian Student Suspended After Speaking Against Transgender Status and Rights”
Today, a trial will begin for a French politician who was charged for criticizing immigration as a public danger. In the meantime, a Christian street preacher was reportedly facing criminal charges in the United Kingdom for declaring that a trans woman was really a “gentleman” and a “man in woman’s clothing.” The counter-terrorism unit arrested David McConnell, a Christian preacher who was already convicted last year for “harassment” in the incident last year. Continue reading “British Minister Faces New Charges Under Counter-Terrorism Laws for Criticizing a Trans Woman”
There is an interesting case out of England this month where a chaplain has sued after he was fired and reported as a threat to young students for questioning LGBTQ activists. What is most alarming is the initial response of the courts in dismissing his free speech rights and effectively ratifying the cancel campaign against Rev. Dr. Bernard Randall, an ordained Church of England minister, after he spoke out against LGBTQ identity policies. Continue reading “Trent College Minister Fired as Threat to Students After Criticizing LGBTQ Values”
The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in a potentially major case on the free exercise of religion. Groff v. DeJoy involves evangelical Christian postal worker, Gerald Groff, who alleges that the the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) forced him out of his job when he refused to work on Sundays due to his faith. The case could either overturn or reaffirm the earlier ruling in TWA v. Hardison, which stated that employers need not offer religious accommodation if doing so would cause an “undue hardship” to the business. Continue reading “Supreme Court Takes Major Religion Case: Postal Worker Asks Court to Toss Long-Standing Test for Religious Accommodation”
This week, the arrest of British Catholic woman for ‘praying’ outside an abortion clinic has attracted international attention. However, the jailing of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, director of anti-abortion group March for Life UK, is neither surprising nor particularly rare as a denial of free speech in Great Britain. While this form of “protest” is uncommon as the basis for an arrest, free speech has been in a free fall in the UK for years. It is also a cautionary tale for those in the United States, which is facing arguably the largest anti-free speech movement in its history. Continue reading “Without a Hope or a Prayer: Why the Arrest of a British Woman Outside of Abortion Clinic is a Wake-Up Call for Free Speech”
We have been following litigation over the required use of pronouns in schools. As University of New Mexico joined those schools requiring the use of the chosen pronouns of students, challenges and cases have mounted. They include actions against both teachers and students for refusing to use pronouns due to their political or religious views. Some of these cases have ended in settlements in favor of the dissenting teachers or professors. Now a new case has been filed in Ohio where Vivian Geraghty, an English teacher at Jackson Memorial Middle School, alleged that she was forced to resign for refusing to comply with the school’s mandatory pronoun policy. Continue reading “Ohio Teacher Files Challenge to Mandatory Pronoun Policy”
Below is my column in the New York Post on the campaign to get Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis due to her religion. The demand is entirely without merit but it is illustrative of the unrelenting and unhinged attacks on this distinguished jurist. Previously, Democratic senators demanded Barrett’s recusal from pending cases on similarly frivolous grounds. Barrett remains the obsession for many on the left from campaigns to ban her books to protests at her home. She has done nothing to warrant such continual and personal attacks.
Here is the column:
Continue reading “Supreme Hypocrisy: Activists and Pundits Target Justice Barrett as “Religious Extremist””
There is an interesting free speech fight brewing at the University of California Berkeley Law School after nine student groups banned any speakers that support Israel or Zionism. The resolution adopted by the groups bar anyone who supports “Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.” Berkeley Law’s Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a self-proclaimed Zionist, has observed that he himself would be banned from speaking to the groups under this resolution.
Continue reading “Berkeley Student Groups Vote to Ban Any Speakers Who Support Israel or Zionism”
There is a major verdict in a free speech case out of Texas where Charlene Carter, a former Southwest flight attendant won a verdict of more than $5 million for her wrongful termination after a posting on social media criticizing her union on its abortion stand. Both Southwest and the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) (Local 556) are named as defendants. Ironically, the TWU insists that it is “offering working people a voice.” However, it is accused of working with the company to terminate this worker who spoke up against the union.
Continue reading “Southwest Airlines and the Transportation Workers Union Hit with Over $5 Million Verdict Over the Firing of a Pro-Life Employee”
We recently discussed how university presidents and deans have departed from long-standing tradition in remaining neutral on political and legal debates to maintain a welcoming and diverse environment for all faculty members and students. It is becoming more common (indeed expected) for presidents and deans to publicly endorse liberal ideological or legal positions. The latest example is Yale Divinity School (YDS) Dean Gregory Sterling, who issued a statement not only opposing the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade but declaring there is no “biblical basis” for abortion bans. Continue reading “Yale Divinity Dean: There is “No Biblical Basis” for Abortion Bans”
There is a controversial decision out of a French administrative court this week to suspend a policy allowing for Muslim women to wear “burkinis” in municipal pools in the city of Grenoble. The court ruled that such policies “undermin[ed] secularism.” While a long advocate of the separation of church and state, I have opposed these bans on burkas and burkinis as inimical to religious rights. France has Europe’s largest Muslim population and devout Muslim women can only use the pools with such coverings under Islamic teachings. France also has a long and proud history of supporting women in making their own choices — the very essence of Joan of Arc who followed her own religious dictates to heroic ends. This is a denial of such self-determination and self-expression for French Muslim women.
The ruling is reportedly based on a 2021 “separatism” law passed in President Emmanuel Macron’s first term, which allows the suspension of measures that would “undermine secularism and the neutrality of public services.”
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin publicly supported his ministry filing an objection against the burkini policy in Grenoble. He announced that “The administrative court considers that the mayor of Grenoble, with his decision allowing burkinis in municipal pools, is seriously undermining secularism.”
Many opposed the proposal by Mayor Eric Piolle and conservative leader Marine Le Pen declared that she wants to introduce a law banning burkinis in municipal pools.
The ban undermines free speech and associational rights as well as the free exercise of religion. Many people find such coverings sexist and offensive. However, this is a long-established matter of religious faith within the Islamic community. I fail to see how this harms others or society as a whole. French society can remain neutral and secular by neither opposing nor endorsing such clothing choices. If France supports the right of women to make their own choices in society, that freedom should include the right to choose to follow a devout religious lifestyle.
Joan of Arc famously declared “I was in my thirteenth year when I heard a voice from God to help me govern my conduct. And the first time I was very much afraid.” While she wore armor rather than a burkini, the same religious imperative dictated her actions and she is now celebrated as martyr for France.
Whatever harm is perceived from burkinis, it pales in comparison to the harm from banning such swimwear in a nation committed to the freedoms of religion, expression, and association.
We have been discussing controversies over social media postings by students and faculty. The latest controversy at Duke University shows again the dangers to free speech in barring groups over such postings. A chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) was approved for Duke but that approval was then rescinded by Duke Student President Chistina Wang over an Instagram response by SSI to a critic. The SSI posting was a measured and civil response to the highly critical tweet from the student. The concern is that the incident was used as a pretext for claiming a viewpoint neutral basis for barring a pro-Israel group. Continue reading “Duke Student President Blocks Pro-Israel Group Over Social Media Post”
Michael Flynn, former national security advisor in the Trump administration, is back in the news this weekend with another startling declaration. While speaking at the “Rewaken America” rally, Flynn declared “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion.” It is a deeply offensive and frankly unAmerican viewpoint. This country was founded (and has been defended) by people of many religions. Arlington cemetery has Christian, Jews, Muslim, and other faiths represented on the tombstones of those who gave the final measure of devotion to this country and its freedoms, including the freedom of religion. Thomas Jefferson famously declared “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God.” Continue reading “Michael Flynn: “We Must Have One Religion””
Below is my column on the President’s dismissal of any objections to the Covid vaccine and his call for mass firings of first responders who remain defiant. The comments reflect a growing call for states and the federal government to reject any religious exemptions for vaccination.
Here is the column: Continue reading “Biden’s “Come on, Man” Defense Will Not Fly on Religious Freedom”