Thursday, February 28, 2013

Liberty Institute Disappointed by Kountze School Board's Decision to Delay Lifting of Unlawful Ban on Cheerleaders' Free Speech

IN THE SCHOOL

16 of 17 Speakers Support Lifting Ban on Run-Through Banners at Special Board Meeting

KOUNTZE, TX, February 27, 2013— Last night Liberty Institute General Counsel Jeff Mateer asked the Kountze ISD Board to lift the ban on the cheerleaders’ run-through banners with religious messages. Mateer was among 17 speakers—16 of whom supported lifting the banners ban—offering input to the board of trustees at a special board meeting, held to receive public feedback on the Matthews v. Kountze ISD case.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Despite Overwhelming Support, Kountze School Board Delays Banner Vote

IN THE SCHOOL

Tuesday night, Liberty Institute General Counsel Jeff Mateer spoke at a special meeting of the Kountze School Board, where they considered the current ban on religious messages on run-through banners at school football games.

Prior to the meeting, the Board accepted written statements from the public and received a written statement from Liberty Institute. Read the statement here.

High School Cheerleaders Withstand Brutal Questioning From School District Attorneys

IN THE SCHOOL

The Kountze High School Cheerleaders have proven time and time again that they aren’t afraid to stand up for what is right…and last week was no exception.

During three intense days of depositions, seven young girls, ranging in age from 14 to 17, sat through hours of brutal questioning by Kountze ISD’s attorneys. Our young heroes held their own against a pretty aggressive opposition.

Liberty Institute: American Legion Should Be Heard in N.C. Veterans Memorial Case

IN THE MILITARY

Another veterans memorial is under attack.

Last week, Liberty Institute filed a motion on behalf of The American Legion and The American Legion Post 290 of King, N.C., seeking to have these veterans organizations included in a pending lawsuit over the constitutionality of a veterans memorial in King’s Central Park.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Liberty Institute Submits To Kountze ISD Board Requested Written Statement

IN THE SCHOOL

Cheerleaders’ Attorneys Encourage District to Lift Banner Ban and Follow Own Policy and State Law

KOUNTZE, TX, February 22, 2013—Today, Liberty Institute submitted a written statement in response to the Kountze ISD Board of Trustees’ request for input on “the Matthews v. Kountze ISD case and the use of religious themes on banners (e.g. ‘run-through’ banners) at sporting events.”

Read the letter here.

Liberty Institute’s written statement encourages the District “to repeal the order prohibiting student groups from displaying signs with messages from a religious viewpoint. Revoking that one directive will bring KISD in line with its own policy and Texas state law, restore the cheerleaders’ free speech rights, and protect KISD from further legal action by bringing the District back under the law.”

Liberty Institute General Counsel Jeff Mateer signed up to speak on behalf of the cheerleaders at the special board meeting, Feb. 26.

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Liberty Institute Helps AFA Fight Back Against HHS Mandate

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

This week, Liberty Institute and the Center for Religious Expression filed a lawsuit against the federal government’s unconscionable HHS Mandate on behalf of American Family Association (AFA).

The lawsuit, The American Family Association v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, contends that the HHS Mandate requiring ministries to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs violates AFA’s religious freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and federal law.

Mississippi Bill Would Ensure Students’ Religious Freedoms

IN THE SCHOOL

As organizations like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation set their sights on our nation’s public schools, some states, like Mississippi, are fighting back, working on legislation to guarantee students’ religious freedoms.

According to an article by the Associated Press, both the Mississippi state House and Senate have passed versions of the Schoolchildren’s Religious Liberties Act. However, both chambers must agree to a single bill before it can move to Governor Phil Bryant for his signature.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ohio Jesus Portrait is Constitutional

IN THE SCHOOL

The issue of religious freedom in public schools has been at the forefront this week, as Liberty Institute attorneys have traveled across the country to defend districts under attack from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the ACLU. On Tuesday, Liberty was in Jackson, Ohio, to report to the school board that the Jesus Portrait is private speech and cannot be removed because of its religious viewpoint.

Liberty Institute Refutes FFRF Complaint Against Arkansas Schools

IN THE SCHOOL 

Tuesday night, Liberty Institute’s General Counsel Jeff Mateer presented at the school board meeting of Conway Public Schools to address complaints made against the district by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

Last fall, the atheist organization sent a demand letter to Conway Public Schools complaining about youth ministers visiting during the lunch hour. In January, Liberty Institute signed on to assist Conway Public Schools in evaluating the school district non-student visitor’s policy, and immediately began an investigation.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lawsuit Against Jackson City School District Premature

IN THE SCHOOL

Liberty Institute, Undeterred by Lawsuit by ACLU and FFRF, Continues Thorough Investigation of the Longstanding Jesus Portrait

JACKSON, OH, February 7, 2013 – Today, Liberty Institute issued the following statement in response to a lawsuit filed in a federal court by the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation, regarding the removal of a longstanding Jesus portrait in the former high school located in Jackson, Ohio.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Boy Scout Decision…A Threat to Religious Liberty?

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Breaking News: As this story was going to publication, it was learned that the Boy Scouts of America will wait until May to make a decision on the proposed change to its policy regarding homosexuality. 

Last Friday, Liberty Institute and two other religious freedom organizations sent a joint letter to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), alerting the organization to a very serious religious freedom issue with the proposed change to the organization’s policy regarding homosexuality.

Proposed HHS Rule Violates First Amendment Rights of Faith-Based Groups

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

On Friday, the Obama Administration proposed a new rule regarding the HHS Mandate that unfortunately continues the Administration’s efforts to limit the First Amendment rights not only for religious ministries, but also for all Americans.

On its surface, the new proposed rule appears to expand the definition of faith-based organizations exempted from the HHS mandate. This expanded exemption, however, is misleading at best. For many religious ministries, including Christian colleges and other para-church ministries, the proposed rule will continue to facilitate objectionable insurance coverage for employees of these faith-based organizations, including coverage for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

SFOI Peacefully Shares Faith with Fans in New Orleans

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Last weekend, sports fans flocked to The Big Easy for Super Bowl XLVII, and Sports Fan Outreach International (SFOI) was on hand at the festivities to peacefully spread the Gospel.

For years, SFOI has shared the Word with fans at major sporting events across the U.S. and the world. Sunday’s big game was the third Super Bowl in which Liberty Institute attorneys have worked with SFOI to ensure their religious freedoms are protected.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Obama Administration Delivers a Trojan Horse of Disrespect to Faith-Based Groups

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

New HHS Mandate Proposal Still Requires Morally Objectionable Insurance Coverage 

DALLAS, Texas, February 4, 2013—Liberty Institute issued the following statement about the Obama Administration’s new proposed rule regarding the HHS Mandate:

“The new proposed HHS rule is merely a Trojan Horse that misleads faith-based groups and all Americans into believing they will no longer have to provide objectionable insurance for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs,” said Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Institute President and CEO.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Boy Scouts: A Threat to Religious Liberty?

IN THE PUBLIC ARENA

Attn:
Mr. Wayne Brock
Chief Scout Executive

Mr. Wayne Perry
President

Mr. Tico Perez
National Commissioner

Mr. Richard Mathews
General Counsel

Gentlemen:

We write to bring to your attention serious issues regarding the Boy Scouts of America’s proposed policy change on openly-gay scouts and scout leaders. As several of the nation’s foremost religious-liberty law firms—litigating hundreds of First Amendment lawsuits throughout the United States, from county courts all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States—we wish to urgently inform you of the severity of the unintended consequences that could ensue if you adopt the proposed change at your February meeting. We have long supported and defended BSA in court on this very issue—including at the Supreme Court in 2000—at considerable cost of manpower and resources, and hope you will give serious consideration to our concerns.