|Mt. Soledad Cross to Stand While Liberty Institute Appeals to Supreme CourtFrom LibertyWatch, By Kelly Shackelford, October 28, 2011 – The 29-foot cross that is part of a memorial honoring all veterans will remain standing atop Mt. Soledad near San Diego while an effort to tear it down proceeds to the United States Supreme Court. For 22 years, the cross has been the subject of a lawsuit originally brought by an atheist, Philip Paulson, and the ACLU.This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion filed by Liberty Institute on behalf of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, the group that oversees the monument. Earlier, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the cross is unconstitutional and, last week, the full court declined to rehear the case.
Bruce Bailey, President of the MSMA says the memorial stands “as a message of self sacrifice” to honor veterans from “every denomination, every war that has been fought.” The Mt. Soledad Memorial consists of a cross, surrounded by six concentric walls featuring more than 2100 granite plaques honoring veterans and containing diverse religious symbols. The outcome of this case could determine the fate of all religious symbols on every public monument and memorial across the country.
|British Employer Cuts Christian’s Pay 40% for Facebook Comment
An 18-year employee of a housing association in Manchester, England was demoted and had his pay slashed 40 % for posting comments on his personal Facebook page that were critical of a requirement that churches register same sex civil partnerships. Last February, on his own time, Adrian Smith posted a BBC news report, headlined “Gay church marriages go ahead” on his personal Facebook page. He added the comment: “an equality too far.” Colleagues started an online conversation about the post, and later complained to managers at Trafford Housing Trust. After an investigation and an appeal by Mr. Smith, senior managers upheld the demotion and pay cut for what they concluded was “gross misconduct.”Mr. Smith is now taking his employer to court with the help of The Christian Institute, a non-profit group that defends the religious liberty of Christians. Commentators at three of Britain’s largest newspapers have criticized the company’s action. One comment piece in The Mail reads: “If the Trust’s high-handed and despotic behavior goes unchallenged, all of us will be significantly less free.”
|Senate Judiciary Committee to Debate Repeal of DOMA
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin debate next week on the Respect for Marriage Act, a deceptively named bill that would actually repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The legislation, introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), would allow the federal government to provide benefits to couples in same-sex marriages. The Obama Administration has already announced its refusal to defend DOMA against court challenges and has indicated it backs Senator Feinstein’s bill.Ask your U.S. Senator to oppose H.R. 1116, the Respect for Marriage Act.