Thursday, October 25, 2012

Faith Under Fire: A Terrible Situation You Can Avoid

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

As we have said time and time again, our religious liberties are under unprecedented assault. Whether it’s banning student prayer in public schools, interfering with the spiritual life of churches and synagogues or trying to remove sacred veterans memorials just because they contain a cross, these attacks are showing no signs of letting up.

In a time when our first freedom – the freedom of religion – hangs in the balance, it is crucial that Liberty Institute remains successful. Why? Because Liberty is the only legal organization dedicated solely to defending and restoring religious liberty in America.

Students’ Faith Spreads Like Wildfire

IN THE SCHOOL

On October 18, Liberty Institute and our affiliate Beaumont attorney David Starnes secured a temporary injunction, allowing the Kountze ISD cheerleaders to continue their practice of displaying student-made religious banners on the football field.

The next night, in their game against the Newton Eagles, the Kountze cheerleaders proudly held up their banner displaying Luke 18:27, “the things which are Impossible with Men are Possible with God.“ But, this time, as fans looked to the other end of the field, they saw an amazing sight…

ACLU’s Plan Backfires: Veterans Will Be Heard

IN THE MILITARY

On October 23, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of California, Larry Allan Burns, granted intervention to our client, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Association, allowing them to continue as a party in the landmark case, Trunk, et al v. U.S.A., et al.

The ruling puts a wrench in the plans for the ACLU, which has been trying to have the Association excluded from the case, leaving just the ACLU and the Obama administration attorneys. The ACLU lost this attempt, and Liberty Institute and the veterans are in the case to the end.

Liberty Helps Family Research Council Say “NO” to ObamaCare

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

This week, Liberty Institute submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC), asking for clarification on whether FRC will be forced to comply with the highly controversial HHS mandate.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Federal District Court Rejects ACLU’s Attempt to Exclude Veterans Association From the Landmark Mt Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross Case

IN THE MILITARY

Court Grants Intervention; Liberty Institute Continues Veterans’ Fight to Preserve the 58-Year-Old Veterans Memorial

SAN DIEGO, CA, October 23, 2012 —Today, the United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of California granted intervention to the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Association (the “Association”) allowing the Association to continue as a party in the landmark case, Steve Trunk, et al v. City of San Diego, et al. It overrules the ACLU’s attempt to have the Association excluded from the case. For more than 20-years, the battle has been fought to decide the fate of the historic Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross, located in San Diego, CA, which the Association originally erected to honor Korean War veterans in 1954.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Banner Day in Court for Kountze Cheerleaders!

IN THE SCHOOL

Judge Grants Motion For Temporary Injunction in Kountze ISD Case During Today’s Hearing, Allowing Cheerleaders to Continue Making and Displaying Banners with Religious Messages

KOUNTZE, TX, Oct. 18, 2012 — Today, Liberty Institute and Beaumont attorney David Starnes on behalf of the Kountze ISD cheerleaders were granted a temporary injunction that will allow student-made religious banners to continue for the duration of the Kountze Lions football season and until the court makes a final decision in the case. A Hardin County district court judge announced his ruling in the cheerleaders’ favor during a scheduled hearing in Kountze, TX, one day before the high school varsity football team’s Friday night home game. Full trial is set for June 24, 2013.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kountze Hearing on Thursday, Texas Attorney General Intervenes on Behalf of Cheerleaders

IN THE SCHOOL

Please continue to pray with us as we prepare for an important hearing on Thursday in the case of the Kountze High School cheerleaders who were banned from painting Bible verses on breakaway banners at school football games.

On Wednesday morning, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot announced that the State of Texas is intervening in the case to support the cheerleaders and to defend the Texas Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act. Attorney General Abbott issued the following statement:

Another Win for Religious Freedom: County to Keep Prayer, National Motto

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Yesterday, Liberty Institute and our local counsel, Bryan Hughes, were able to secure a win for the Wood County Commissioner’s Court, which had been challenged for its practice of opening sessions with prayer and for displaying “In God We Trust” in the courtroom.

The ruling was made during a summary judgment hearing at the Wood County Courthouse in Quitman, Texas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Censorship Rejected; Legislative Prayers Continue in Hays County, Texas

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Censorship Rejected; Legislative Prayers Continue In Hays County, Texas

SAN MARCOS, TX, October 16, 2012 — Today, Liberty Institute and Texas Values announced that the Hays County Commissioners court voted in favor of continuing to allow invocations before its meetings in central Texas. Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS), a Washington D.C. group, recently threatened to sue Hays County if legislative prayer continued at the Commissioners Court meetings, and it also asked Hays County to censor certain types of prayers.

Judge Dismisses Case Challenging County’s Invocation and “In God We Trust” Motto

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Liberty Institute Applauds Summary Judgment Ruling Supporting Wood County’s Right to Open Sessions in Prayer and to Display National Motto “In God We Trust”

QUITMAN, TX, October 16, 2012 — Today, Liberty Institute and its local counsel Bryan Hughes on behalf of the Wood County Commissioner’s Court applauds the ruling of a state district judge who granted a summary judgment, dismissing the lawsuit against the County for opening its sessions in prayer and for displaying in its courtroom America’s national motto “In God We Trust.” The ruling was made during a summary judgment hearing at the Wood County Courthouse in Quitman, Texas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kountze Cheerleaders Return to Court Seeking Temporary Injunction

IN THE SCHOOL

Liberty Institute and Beaumont Attorney David Starnes Continue Their Defense of the Kountze High School Cheerleaders during October 18 Hearing

WHAT: This week, Kountze High School cheerleaders continue with court proceedings in their high-profile free speech case as they seek a temporary injunction. The temporary restraining order they obtained Sept. 20 was extended on Oct. 4 for two additional weeks, while encouragement poured in from Texas Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and supporters across the country. A scheduled court hearing in their small community—that has recently received national

Hearing Will Decide if Case Against Wood County Commissioners’ Court Has a Prayer

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Liberty Institute Asks Judge to Dismiss Case Challenging Wood County’s Right to Open Sessions in Prayer and to Display National Motto “In God We Trust”

WHAT: A summary judgment hearing should end a frivolous lawsuit against the Wood County Commissioners’ Court for opening its sessions in prayer and for displaying in its courtroom America’s national motto “In God We Trust.” A state district court judge will decide whether to grant summary judgment, which would result in the dismissal of the case.

Texas Values Launches to Preserve Texans’ Faith, Family and Freedom

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Jonathan Saenz, Liberty Institute veteran attorney and legislative director, will Preside Over New Texas-Focused Effort

AUSTIN, TX, Oct. 11, 2012 – Today, Liberty Institute announced the launch of Texas Values, a new Texas-focused effort, dedicated to the preservation of Texas’ most precious values–faith, family, and freedom. Jonathan Saenz, who, since 2005, was an attorney and legislative director for Liberty Institute, will serve as President.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Support for Kountze Cheerleaders Goes Global

IN THE SCHOOL

Not only have the cheerleaders from Kountze, Texas, been featured on major news outlets across America, but now, the girls are going global, receiving support from individuals and groups around the world.

A Facebook page created to show support for the cheerleaders has reached more than 48,000 members, and is continuing to grow by the day. Messages of prayer and praise are being posted from states across the U.S., and countries around the globe, including Mexico, France, New Zealand and Egypt.

Quick Victory for Indiana Pastor

IN THE CHURCH

Indiana Pastor Mark Powell wears his clerical collar everyday as part of his religious beliefs and practices. So, when he went to have his passport picture taken, he was, of course, wearing his normal attire…never thinking it could cause his passport to be denied.

In September, Rev. Powell applied for his passport with the State Department’s National Passport Information Center and subsequently, received a denial letter. According to the letter, the State Department rejected Rev. Powell’s passport application because in his photograph he is “not shown in normal attire.”

Fight Isn’t Over Yet for Opulent Life Church

IN THE CHURCH

This week, Liberty Institute filed new documents on behalf of Opulent Life Church in the Northern District of Mississippi, Western Division, seeking a temporary restraining order and injunction, which would prohibit the enforcement of the City of Holly Springs’ revised zoning ordinance that bans churches from operating in the City’s central square.

When the church sought to rent larger space in the downtown area of Holly Springs, the city told the church it must first get the approval of 60 percent of local property owners and then the town’s mayor. 
The ordinance applied only to churches. Businesses and non-religious groups were not subject to this requirement.