Category Archives: First Amendment

Sunday Devotional: You are called for freedom!

Galatians 5:1, 13

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.

Today’s powerful reading from St. Paul’s Letters to the Galatians is a ringing endorsement of Thursday’s Brexit referendum to free the UK from the EU, as well as an affirmation of all who resist tyranny, whether in the form of one-party totalitarianism, or America’s “soft” guileful tyranny of cultural Marxism and the ever-expanding unelected administrative state.

But St. Paul’s exhortation to freedom is not the licentious, satanic “Do as thou will” which permeates our popular culture today, nor is it the amoral selfishness of political libertarianism. Rather, it is a freedom informed by our understanding that we are to use well God’s most precious and selfless gift to us — the gift of free will — not for self-indulgence, but to choose to be good.

Galatians 5:13-17

But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.
I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.

Then St. Paul spells out what true freedom means.

Galatians 5:19-23, 25

Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, licentiousness,
idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….
If we live in the Spirit,
let us also follow the Spirit.

cross1

May the Joy and Peace and Love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you this glorious Sunday! For by His grace, we have lived to see the sun rise on another magnificent day.

~Eowyn

Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher

Yesterday, June 23rd, was the Feast Day of St. John Fisher. The day before that, June 22nd, was the Feast Day of St. Thomas More. More and Fisher were two very brave men who died for the Truth, for their Faith, and for Christ.

Their joint feast day is a timely reminder to Christians in America that we, too, are called to defend our Faith against the Obama administration’s assault on Catholic institutions, under the guise of Obamacare’s contraceptives mandate. Today, it’s Catholics; tomorrow, it will be Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Evangelicals….

St. Thomas More

Thomas was born in 1478 in England. His father, John, was a barrister and a judge and his mother was Agnes. He received his childhood education at St. Anthony’s school and, at age 13, was received into the household of Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury who was impressed with the lad. Thomas was then sent to Oxford, where he studied at Canterbury College.

Thomas thought he might have a calling to the priesthood and for four years he lived with the London Carthusian monks. However, he did not find a calling to the priesthood. Thomas then studied law and was called to the Bar in 1501 and in 1504 he entered Parliament. In 1505 he married Jane Colt and they had four children, Margaret, Elizabeth, Cecilia and John. Thomas was adamant that his daughters received a scholarly education just like his son. Many religious and learned people of London visited Thomas and his family in their home which was known as a congenial center of learning. In 1510 Jane died, but he later married Alice Middleton, a widow. In 1516, Thomas wrote Utopia, a work of fiction and political philosophy.

Thomas was brought to King Henry VIII’s court and in October of 1529, appointed Lord Chancellor of England, the highest office in England under the King. Thomas became a friend and confidant of Henry VIII, as the King had great respect for Thomas, admiring his intellect, wit, good judgment and holiness.

Henry VIII desired to obtain an annulment from the Pope to his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. Pope Clement VII refused to grant an annulment, finding no valid grounds. Henry was enraged at this denial and forced the English clergy to acknowledge him as “Protector and Supreme Head of the Church of England.”

At this, Thomas resigned as Chancellor; his property confiscated by the King. Thomas and his family became poverty stricken. For 18 months he lived in quiet austerity, engaging himself in writing and with the needs of the household. After King Henry married Anne Boleyn, Thomas refused to attend her coronation.

On March 30, 1534, the Act of Succession provided that the King’s subjects take an oath, which required all English subjects to agree to three clauses: that any heir or offspring of Henry and Anne was a legitimate heir to the throne; that the marriage between Henry and Catherine was null and void; and that the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, had no more authority or power in England than any other bishop. Anyone who refused to sign the oath was guilty of high treason punishable by death.

On April 13, 1534, Thomas and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, were given the oath to sign, but they both refused to sign it because of the latter two clauses. Consequently, on April 17, 1534, both Thomas and Fisher were imprisoned in the Tower of London. During this time, Thomas suffered greatly, separated from his family whom he loved so much. But it was also during his incarceration that Thomas began to write the Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, the best of his spiritual works, and The Sadness of Christ.

Toward the man who put him in prison, Thomas not only prayed daily for Henry, he thanked the King for his imprisonment, which Thomas called “the very greatest” of “all the great benefits” the king “has heaped so thickly upon me.” With prescience, Thomas wrote to his daughter Margaret that “no matter how bad it seems,” great good would come from his death.

On February 1, 1535, the Act of Supremacy came into operation, giving the title of “only supreme head of the Church of England” to the king and made it treason to deny it. Thomas was asked while he was in the Tower his opinion of the Act, but he refused to give his opinion. On June 22nd, now-Cardinal John Fisher was beheaded on Tower Hill. Nine days after, on July 1, 1535, Thomas was indicted and tried in Westminster Hall for opposing the Act of Supremacy, with false testimony from Richard Rich, the Solicitor General of Wales.

At the trial, Thomas broke his long silence and defended himself with competence, brilliance, and holiness, which intimidated his accusers and judges. He argued that, just as London lacked authority to annul an act of Parliament for the whole of England, so Parliament lacked authority to transfer governance of the Church to the king, since the Church had been entrusted by God to the bishops and the Pope. Thomas noted that this was codified in the Magna Carta 200 years earlier and affirmed in the king’s coronation oath.

Intimidated by King Henry, the jury convicted Thomas of treason. On July 6, 1535, Thomas was taken to be beheaded at Tower Hill. Weak and emaciated, he asked the Lord Lieutenant of the Tower to help him up the steps of the scaffold, but still managed wryly to quip, “As for my coming down, let me shift for myself.” A Paris newsletter published this description by an eye-witness:

“He spoke little before his execution. Only he asked that bystanders to pray for him in this world, and he would pray for them elsewhere. He then begged them earnestly to pray for the King, that it might please God to give him good counsel, protesting that he dies the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

The husband of Thomas’ daughter, Margaret, recorded that Thomas asked those present “to pray for him, and to bear witness with him that he should now there suffer death, in and for the faith of the Holy Catholic Church.”

400 years after his martyrdom, on May 19, 1935, the bells in St. Peter’s Basilica rang with joy as Thomas More was canonized a saint, along with St. John Fisher. In November of 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed St. Thomas More the patron saint of politicians “for proclaiming the truth in season and out.”

St. John Fisher

John was born in 1469 in Beverly, Yorkshire, the eldest of four children of Robert and Agnes Fisher. Robert Fisher died when John was only 8; his mother remarried and had five more children. John attended Beverly grammar school and later, Cambridge University. He became Proctor of Cambridge in or about 1494, and was appointed Master Debator three years later. On July 5, 1501, he became a doctor of sacred theology; 10 days later, he was elected Vice Chancellor of the University. From 1505 to 1508, John served as the president of Queens’ College: He created scholarships, introduced Greek and Hebrew into the university curriculum, and brought in the world-famous Erasmus as Professor of Divinity and Greek. John was known as a great theologian through his writings in defense of the Sacraments, especially the priesthood and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In 1504, he became both Bishop of Rochester, the poorest diocese in England, as well as Chancellor of Cambridge. As Chancellor, he tutored then Prince Henry, who later became King Henry VIII. John loved his flock in Rochester as they also loved him, tending especially to the poor and the children.

From 1527 on forward, Bishop Fisher resolutely opposed Henry VIII’s divorce proceedings against Queen Catherine. Unlike all of the other bishops, John Fisher refused to take the Oath of Succession for the same reasons as Thomas More. Therefore, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in April of 1534. That very next year while he remained in prison, the Pope made him a Cardinal. Angered by this, Henry VIII retaliated by beheading Cardinal Fisher.

A half hour before his execution on June 22, 1535, Cardinal Fisher opened his New Testament to this passage in the Gospel of John:

“Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Him Whom You have sent, Jesus Christ. I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do. Do you now, Father, give me glory at Your side.”

Fisher then closed his New Testament and said, “There is enough learning in that to last me the rest of my life.”

William Rastell, Thomas More’s nephew, witnessed the martyrdom of Cardinal Fisher. He said that Fisher in a strong and very loud voice spoke to the large crowd, “Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ’s Catholic Church.” He asked for their prayers and prayed, “God save the king and the realm, and hold His holy hand over it, and send the king a good counsel.” He then knelt, said the hymn of praise, Te Deum, and some short prayers, laid his neck upon the block, and was executed.

On May 19, 1935, along with Thomas More, John Fisher was canonized a saint.

In his Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, St. Thomas More urges us to have the courage and conviction to “die for the truth” with Christ.

We live in a time in America of a culture war against Christ and Christianity. The culture war is now a political war because of the Obama administration’s assault on religious autonomy and liberty. Against the tide of false political correctness and the threat of punishment and sanctions, will we stand firm and remain true to Christ and to our Faith?

St. Thomas and St. John so loved Jesus, they willingly died for Him. May we find inspiration in their examples as we live our faith with courage, integrity, honor and steadfastness.

We are not servants of Obama or any ruler. We are God’s servants, first and last!

~Joan

Sources:

Butler’s Lives of the Saints, edited by Michael Walsh
The King’s Good Servant But God’s First, by James Monti
Catholic Insight
Catholic Online
Catholic Wisdom, edited by John A. Hardon, S.J.

40% of Millennials are OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities

offensive

From Pew Research Center: American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.

We asked whether people believe that citizens should be able to make public statements that are offensive to minority groups, or whether the government should be able to prevent people from saying these things. Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups, while 58% said such speech is OK.

Even though a larger share of Millennials favor allowing offensive speech against minorities, the 40% who oppose it is striking given that only around a quarter of Gen Xers (27%) and Boomers (24%) and roughly one-in-ten Silents (12%) say the government should be able to prevent such speech.

millennials censoring free speech

Compared with people we surveyed in dozens of nations, Americans as a whole are less likely to favor the government being able to prevent speech of any kind. The debate over what kind of speech should be tolerated in public has become a major story around the globe in recent weeks – from racial issues on many U.S. college campuses to questions about speech laws in Europe in the wake of concerns about refugees from the Middle East and the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Overall, our global survey found that a majority of Americans say that people should be able to say offensive things about minority groups publicly. Two-thirds of Americans say this, compared with a median of 35% among the 38 nations we polled.

In the U.S., our findings also show a racial divide on this question, with non-whites more likely (38%) to support government prevention of such speech than non-Hispanic whites (23%).

Nearly twice as many Democrats say the government should be able to stop speech against minorities (35%) compared with Republicans (18%). Independents, as is often the case, find themselves in the middle. One-third of all women say the government should be able to curtail speech that is offensive to minorities vs. 23% of men who say the same.

Furthermore, Americans who have a high school degree or less are more likely than those with at least a college degree to say that speech offensive to minority groups should be able to be restricted (a 9-percentage-point difference).

Read the rest of the poll results here.

h/t Weasel Zippers

DCG

Drake student gov. rejects conservative club for ‘harmful’ views

freedom of speech

From Campus Reform: The Drake University Student Senate voted overwhelmingly last week against recognizing a new conservative student group after several senators objected to the organization’s political views.

According to minutes from the Senate’s April 21 meeting, opponents gave several reasons for rejecting the application to establish a Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter on campus—from claiming that its mission is too specific to arguing that Drake already has other conservative clubs—but expressed particular concern about the group’s views on social issues.

Senator Kevin Kane, for instance, said he could not justify approving TPUSA because of its “hateful record,” claiming that some of its tweets “directly relate to social issues.”

Senator Linley Sanders also took issue with the group’s social media activity, saying she “does not support some things concerning social issues on their Facebook page.” She denied that her opposition was based on TPUSA “being conservative” in general, however, saying she was merely worried that “the organization may be against specific groups[,] which could be perceived as condescending.”

Olivia O'Hea's twitter profile picture

Olivia O’Hea’s twitter profile picture

Hypeline reports that a third senator, Olivia O’Hea, even criticized the prospective student group for pro-life tweets sent from the personal Twitter account of TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk, contrasting O’Hea’s argument with posts from her own Facebook page (which are no longer public) declaring her support for Planned Parenthood.

A few senators did dissent from the prevailing view, notably Senator Jon Lueth and Vice President Zachary Blevin, both of whom pledged to set aside their personal political beliefs and support the club in the interest of promoting free expression, but according to KCCI, the final tally was a lopsided 15-3 against recognizing TPUSA.

Amy Samuel, one of the students involved in the TPUSA effort, told The Des Moines Register that she and a regional director for the national organization have a meeting scheduled with university officials this week to discuss their grievances over the vote, saying, “the way some members of the senate have promoted their political views has made me a little concerned about what the future could be for the approval of our organization.”

Associate Dean Jerry Parker

Associate Dean Jerry Parker

Associate Dean Jerry Parker indicated to Hypeline that he does not believe the student senators violated any rules by introducing their personal political beliefs into the debate, but observed in a separate statement to The Des Moines Register that the TPUSA students would be able to go through the approval process again once newly-elected senators take their seats at the start of the next academic year.

Interestingly, the Vision Statement adopted by the current crop of senators declares: “In an effort to create meaningful and relevant change at Drake University, we, as student advocates and allies, strive to build a campus and a Student Senate that is more: Personally, politically, and culturally engaged[;] Proactive in creating a healthier climate for mind and body[;] Transparent and responsive in its actions[; and] Representative of all Drake University students.”

DCG

Professor James Tracy files Civil Rights lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University & Faculty Union

Memory Hole

University’s Policies and Actions Threaten Faculty Due Process and Free Speech Throughout the United States

““Tenure, free speech, due process and academic freedom are under attack. Without judicial intervention, employees and faculty at Florida Atlantic University and other universities around the United States, will continue to be censored, deterred or chilled from sharing unpopular information or opinions for fear that they will be disciplined on a pretext.”-Attorney Louis Leo IV

April 25, 2016, West Palm Beach, Florida – Former Florida Atlantic University (“FAU”) Professor James Tracy, who was fired from his tenured faculty position in January, has filed a civil rights suit against the University, several top school officials, and his faculty union constitutionrepresentatives, alleging that the firing violated his First Amendment right to free speech and other constitutional rights, including his right to due process, in addition to the University’s long-standing principles of academic freedom.

Dr. James…

View original post 496 more words

Persecution: Missouri U. denies Christian student his graduate degree

Gaystapo

Michael F. Haverluck reports for OneNewsNow, April 24, 2016, that Andrew Cash is suing Missouri State University (MSU) for dismissing him from its graduate degree program because he expressed reservations about counseling same-sex couples because doing so would compromise his Christian religious convictions.

Cash had begun MSU’s graduate program in counseling in September 2007, and has a consistently excellent academic standing.

In 2011, Cash was nearing completion of his Master’s of Science degree. He was asked by his academic advisor Kristi Perryman, Ph.D., if he would counsel a “gay” couple. Cash replied that he would counsel the couple individually on issues related to depression, anxiety, etc., but not as a couple because doing so would violate his sincerely-held Christian religious beliefs — about which the university knew full well — but that he would refer the couple elsewhere. Cash stated that his approach to counseling is centered on his core beliefs, values and Christian worldview and these would not be congruent with the likely values and needs of a gay couple, who, for these reasons, would be best served by a counselor sharing their core value system and core beliefs.

Perryman called Cash “unethical” and “discriminatory toward gay persons.” She told the student not to return to his internship, which she had approved just three months before. MSU terminated Cash from the counseling internship program that was a necessary prerequisite for his degree. (600 hours of clinical internship are required for the M.S. degree.) In November 2014, the university removed Cash from the graduate program entirely.

Cash is represented in his complaint against the Governors of Missouri State University by the Catholic non-profit legal aid group, Thomas More Society, which filed a civil rights claim with the Western District of Missouri Court this week, stating that the university had violated Cash’s civil rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1871.

The lawsuit claims that MSU cut off Cash’s ability to complete the program and become a counselor, “causing him daily emotional suffering”. The lawsuit asks that the university “reinstate him in his counseling program with safeguards put in place so that he can successfully earn his degree.”

Thomas More Society Executive Director Thomas Olp finds MSU’s treatment of Cash to be hypocritical because the university — like most others across the country — market themselves as “marketplaces of ideas.” Olp says:

Traditionally, universities have been places for free exchange of ideas and values — both religious and secular. Unfortunately, Missouri State University departed from its mission by denying educational opportunity to Mr. Cash simply because he expressed — in an academic setting — sincerely held religious beliefs which his advisor [Dr. Kristi Perryman] deemed hostile to her own and therefore unacceptable. An educator should not permit her own ideology and agenda to ruin the educational opportunities of her students. We feel the responsibility, on Mr. Cash’s behalf, to try to correct this.”

Furthermore, Missouri State University knew full well about Cash’s religious beliefs when his desire to serve as an intern with a Christian organization was brought before them.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are the 10 members of the Board of Governors, President, and 3 faculty members of Missouri State University:

  1. Peter Hofherr, President of Board of Governors (BoG)
  2. Carrie Tergin, member, BoG
  3. Joe Carmichael, member, BoG
  4. Gregory Spears, member, BoG
  5. Kendall Seal, member, BoG
  6. Gabriel Gore, member, BoG
  7. Virginia Fry, member, BoG
  8. Beverly Miller, member, BoG
  9. Stephen Hoven, member, BoG
  10. Tyree Lewis, member, BoG
  11. Dr. Clifton Smart III, President of MSU
  12. Dr. Kristi Perryman, Internship Coordinator of MSU’s Counseling Dept. and Andrew Cash’s academic advisor
  13. Dr. Tamara Arthaud, Head of Department of Counseling
  14. Dr. Angela Anderson, faculty member
Kristi Perryman

Photo by Russell Cothren, U. of Arkansas

On the healthgrades website, Kristi Perryman received a rating of only 2.3 by her counseling patients (a maximum excellent rating would be 5). In August 2014, Perryman left Missouri State University to join the University of Arkansas as assistant professor of counselor education and a “registered play therapist supervisor”.

Missouri State University is a public, taxpayer-supported university. Here’s the contact info. for MSU’s Board of Governors:

Phone: 417-836-8500
Email: boardofgovernors@missouristate.edu
Mailing address: Missouri State University
Board of Governors
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897

H/t FOTM‘s MomOfIV

~Eowyn

SEIU union president threatens to shut down Trump’s Seattle rally

Commies never appreciate the First Amendment, especially when it comes to an opinion they disagree with. Funny though, conservatives never threatened to shut down this SEUI president’s pet peeve, the Fight for Fifteen.

freedom of speech

According to the Seattle Times, Donald Trump says he’ll campaign in Washington state in early May, telling supporters if he wins the primary here, “It’s going to be over.”

The Republican presidential front-runner revealed his plans to a group of cheering supporters in Vancouver, Clark County, over a cell phone speaker Thursday night, telling them he’d like to visit May 7.

“I want to be there. I want to be there with you folks,” Trump told the group, which included his state campaign chairman, state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver. Video of his call was posted on Facebook by a supporter.

Yet David Rolf, President of SEIU 775 (the fastest growing union in the Northwest representing home care and nursing home workers in Washington state and Montana) will have none of that. (FYI: As of 2013, Rolf’s total compensation was $190596.)

SEIU thug David Rolf

SEIU thug David Rolf

On April 22nd, Rolf tweeted: “Let’s shut this down #seattle. Peacefully but loudly,” in response to news of Trump’s planned visit.

So much for liberals being “tolerant.”

If you are a member of SEIU 775 and would like to join the opt out movement, go here.

DCG