On September 28, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have required all children to complete kindergarten before entering first grade. This bill, AB 1444, supported by teachers’ unions, would have had the practical effect of mandating that all 5 year-olds attend kindergarten. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association among other groups objected to the legislation on the grounds that it would deny parental choice over education. HSLDA also cited evidence that mandatory early education does not improve the quality of education and can lead to behavioral problems.
Archives for September 2014
ATLANTA, GA, September 23, 2014—Today, Liberty Institute and Parks, Chesin & Walbert, attorneys for Dr. Eric Walsh, a leading public health expert, who holds both a medical degree and Ph.D. and serves as lay minister with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, filed an official charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Georgia Department of Health offered Dr. Walsh a job in May, which he accepted, announced his employment publicly, but then top officials laughed about their decision to terminate his position as Director of Public Health for the region of northeast Georgia based upon Dr. Walsh’s religious beliefs.
According to a survey released September 22, 2014 by Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans think that religion is losing its influence on American society while only 22% believe that it is increasing its influence. Of these, 56% believe that this loss of influence is a “bad thing.” Of the 22% who believe that religion is gaining influence, 12% say that it is a “good thing” while 10% say that it is not.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently filed suit in two cases alleging that employers violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they failed to accommodate holy day observance practices of employees.
On October 7, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument on whether the Arkansas Department of Corrections grooming policy violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons act of 2000 (RLUIPA) when it prohibits a prisoner from growing a one-half-inch beard in accordance with his religious beliefs.
On September 13, during a visit to the Italian Military Memorial of Redipuglia, a monument in Italy where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War I are buried, Pope Francis said that World War III has begun in a “piecemeal” fashion.
A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week unanimously struck down state bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin. In a 40-page opinion (http://www.scribd.com/doc/238675754/14-2386-212#download), Judge Richard Posner blasted the two states for arguing that the reason why gay marriages were prohibited while heterosexual marriages were encouraged was that heterosexuals needed marriage to make couples take responsibility for their unplanned children. The states had argued that since homosexual couples could not accidentally conceive children, the state had no interest in them being married.
On September 10, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument in Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) v. Lew. The judges focused on whether FFRF had standing to bring the case.