Now It’s Covid Cancel Christians Culture (CCCC) As New Orleans Mayor Nixes Lauren Daigle

An award-winning Christian and cross-over recording artist performed without a mask at a worship protest earlier this year in the French Quarter, so New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell wants to ban Lauren Daigle from the Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve show.

Lauren Daigle (Screenshot from her website).

Daigle, who is from Lafayette, Louisiana,  performed mask-less during Sean Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” protest in November in New Orleans’ Jackson Square. Hundreds of people attended the event that was held without an official permit.

She is not scheduled to be among the featured performers in the annual Dick Clark entertainment, part of which will originate from New Orleans. Continue reading “Now It’s Covid Cancel Christians Culture (CCCC) As New Orleans Mayor Nixes Lauren Daigle”

FIRST AMENDMENT: Court Strikes Down Nevada’s Covid Church Attendance Limits

More fruit harvested today from the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn as the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom wins in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

From the decision today against Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s clearly discriminatory anti-Covid regulations that penalized churches with severe attendance limits while leaving casinos essentially free to operate with no such considerations:

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Roman Catholic Diocese compels us to reverse the district court. Just like the New York restrictions, the Directive treats numerous secular activities and entities significantly better than religious worship services.

“Casinos, bowling alleys, retail businesses, restaurants, arcades, and other similar secular entities are limited to 50 percent of fire-code capacity, yet houses of worship are limited to 50 people regardless of their fire-code capacities. As a result, the restrictions in the Directive, although not identical to New York’s, require attendance limitations that create the same ‘disparate treatment’ of religion.”

The appeals court directed the District Court that had decided against the Calvary Chapel of Dayton Valley congregation to revisit its decision and evaluate the Sisolak edict according to the strict scrutiny standard the Supreme Court used in the Brooklyn case.

More to come!


 

 

Justice Samuel Alito’s Christmas Present For America

When U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito spoke to the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society in early November, no one would have predicted that his address would be a Christmas gift to America.

Alito’s basic message was a warning that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty — our “First Freedom” —is being jeopardized as never before by politicians using Covid-19 as an excuse to violate the Constitution.

As HillFaith reported last month, Alito told the convention at the outset of his address, which he delivered virtually, that “the pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.” Continue reading “Justice Samuel Alito’s Christmas Present For America”

California Court Delivers Stinging Rebuke To Newsom’s Anti-Church Covid-19 Regulations

California Superior Court Judge Gregory Pulskamp delivered a stinging rebuke of Gov. Gavin Newsom late Thursday, ruling against “all Covid-19 restrictions that fail to treat houses of worship equal to the favored class of entities [i.e., ‘essential businesses'”].

The ruling came in the case of Father Trevor Burfitt v Gavin Newsom, a suit brought by attorneys for the Thomas More Society on behalf of the priest and multiple Catholic parishes that were barred from holding indoor masses even as big-box stores like Walmart, movie production houses, bus stations and numerous other businesses were exempted.

The judge singled out Newsom’s recently issued “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” and “Regional Stay at Home Order” as failing to satisfy the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom of worship and practice because they aren’t applied equally and in the least restrictive manner necessary to achieve an essential public interest. Continue reading “California Court Delivers Stinging Rebuke To Newsom’s Anti-Church Covid-19 Regulations”

THANKSGIVING! Supreme Court Upholds First Amendment Against Cuomo Worship Restrictions

In what could prove to be a landmark decision upholding the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom of assembly and practice, the Supreme Court late Wednesday slapped down New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s limits on worship assemblies in certain hard-hit areas of New York.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court said Cuomo’s restriction of religious assemblies in the targeted areas to no more than 25 individuals in some and no more than 10 in others must address a “compelling” state interest, satisfy “strict scrutiny” and be “narrowly tailored” to minimally impinge on First Amendment rights.

But Cuomo’s regulations failed on both counts, saying “Stemming the spread of COVID–19 is unquestionably a compelling interest, but it is hard to see how the challenged regulations can be regarded as ‘narrowly tailored.’

“They are far more restrictive than any COVID–related regulations that have previously come before the Court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard-hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus at the applicants’ services.” Continue reading “THANKSGIVING! Supreme Court Upholds First Amendment Against Cuomo Worship Restrictions”

Pastor Rob McCoy: ‘This Is Insane … Take Off The Masks!’

Pastor Rob McCoy, who describes himself as a “pro-life Democrat,” recently converted his church, Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California, into a strip club.

Yes, you read that correctly, a strip club. McCoy acted in response to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decree that church congregations cannot assemble to worship God but strip clubs and numerous other kinds of establishments can remain open.

So, McCoy did a quick strip (of his tie, people, nothing more, this is church, remember?!??), accompanied by the 1960s show tune, “The Stripper.”

And then he delivered a sermon that is yet another sign of a gathering spirit of liberty sparked by oppressive “public health measures” decreed by Newsom and other government figures across the country in response to the Covid Pandemic. Continue reading “Pastor Rob McCoy: ‘This Is Insane … Take Off The Masks!’”

FIRST AMENDMENT: YouTube Is Censoring Pro-Life Group Videos

Americans’ faith in the major institutions of our nation and culture is declining rapidly, thanks to politicians who say one thing but do another, Mainstream Media that ignores facts that conflict with the preferred narrative and tech giants who use labels like “mis-information” to describe what is in fact nothing more than blatant censorship.

New Exhibit A: LifeSite reports that one of its videos of a Canadian medical doctor explaining why he believes the Coronavirus Pandemic is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated” has prompted an attack on the First Amendment by YouTube.

YouTube shutdown LifeSite’s channel, which has more than 200,000 subscribers, for a week. In YouTube’s alternative universe, such action is considered a first strike. Three strikes and your channel is terminated permanently.

Another term for the latter action is “de-platforming,” which is to say barring access by an individual or group to a public platform for the expression of opinions and sharing of information. De-platforming is, in short,  censorship, pure and simple.

But all is not yet lost for LifeSite, as the site’s editors explain:

“All of LifeSite’s videos and shows, including The Mother Miriam ShowThe Bishop Strickland Show, and many more, will available for viewing this week on LifeSite’s Rumble channel by clicking hereThe video that led to censorship from YouTube can also be found there.

“On November 18, YouTube had flagged another of LifeSite’s videos, The Mother Miriam Show. Despite being titled, ‘Catholic Christmas traditions to instill faith in your kids,’ that video also received a warning of ‘medical misinformation.’ YouTube then removed the video.”

Historians may well someday look back on Big Tech’s current actions and wonder why firms like YouTube purposely alienated millions of otherwise loyal customers by refusing service to them due to their opinions on a political issue. That qualifies as cutting off your nose to spite your own face.


 

DID YOU KNOW: Majority Of State Capitols Will Have Nativity Scene Displays In 2020; More To Come

At least 31 of the nation’s 50 state capitols will have Nativity Scenes of Christ’s birth in December 2020 and one of the attorneys behind the legal campaign defending such religious expression in the public square is confident the day is coming soon when every state will have such exhibits.

Photo of Nativity Scene being constructed provided by the Thomas More Society.

“The nativities are going up in more than half of the states and it’s based on a free-speech rationale that is very hard to defeat,” Thomas More Society Founder Thomas Brejcha told HillFaith Friday. “Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Illinois and Texas publicly said we were totally justified in doing so.”

Brejcha said he has no doubt at all that within a few years there will be Nativity Scene displays in the capitol rotundas of all 50 states.

“I don’t have the slightest doubt about it. We may have a fight or two, but my response is ‘bring it on,’” he said. Continue reading “DID YOU KNOW: Majority Of State Capitols Will Have Nativity Scene Displays In 2020; More To Come”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Supreme Court Asked To Block Nevada Covid Reg That Favors Casinos Over Churches

Attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and representing Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in rural Lyon County, Nevada, petitioned the Supreme Court Thursday to declare unconstitutional a state regulation that discriminates against churches.

Pastor Garry Leist of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley church in Nevada. (Photo courtesy of ADF)

“Attempting to combat the spread of COVID-19, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a series of executive orders that restrict personal liberties,” the petition told the Court. Sisolak is a Democrat.

“The subject of this petition are the Governor’s orders limiting church gatherings. For example, Directive 021 allowed large groups to assemble in close quarters for unlimited time-periods at casinos, restaurants, indoor amusements parks, bowling alleys, water parks, pools, arcades, and more, subject only to a 50%- fire-code-capacity limit. Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Supreme Court Asked To Block Nevada Covid Reg That Favors Casinos Over Churches”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Another California Church Sues To Protect First Amendment Rights

A small mostly Hispanic Christian congregation in La Habra Heights, a suburban municipality a little south of Los Angeles, has filed suit in federal court seeking relief from illegal official harassment and excessive, unjustified fines.

A World Aflame church outdoor service, with congregants observing social distancing (Photo courtesy of Tyler & Bursch LLP).

The harassment, according to Pastor Joe Garcia of World Aflame Ministries, is the work of La Habra Heights City Manager Fabiola Huerta and Juan Garcia, a private citizen who lives near the congregation’s rented meeting place.

One of the law firms representing World Aflame is actively involved in similar cases around the country and may also be the victim of Big Tech censorship. Repeated searches by HillFaith today on Google Search for the web site of Tyler & Bursch LLP were derailed to a search on Microsoft Bing for the single word, Tyler. (See accompanying screenshot). Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Another California Church Sues To Protect First Amendment Rights”

Now The Chinese Communist Party Is Rewriting The Bible

There is virtually no religious freedom in China as the dictatorship in Beijing is steadily increasing its oppressive measures against all forms of religious practice and expression not approved by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Federalist reporter Arielle Del Turco describes the CCP’s latest gambit:

When a Chinese Christian, Chen Yu, was caught boldly selling religious publications not authorized by the government, his punishment was a seven-year prison sentence and an approximately $30,000 USD fine, handed down by a court last month.

Such steep punishment for promoting and adhering to a religion is all too common in China today. Faith is increasingly under attack in President Xi Jinping’s China. As religious expression becomes more dangerous there, people around the world should be speaking up in defense of China’s persecuted believers.

In addition to Chen’s fine and imprisonment, the court ordered local police in the Zhejiang province to destroy 12,864 religious books from his online bookstore. Make no mistake—this is a regime that is deeply afraid of the growth of Christianity.

Go here at The Federalist for the rest of Del Turco’s story.


 

Federal Judge Tells D.C. Mayor She Cannot Ban Meetings of Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Historic congregation located a few blocks from the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Trevor McFadden ruled late Friday in favor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) in its request for a preliminary injunction against the District of Columbia government’s ban on congregational meetings of more than 100 people.

“The Court determines that the church is likely to succeed in proving that the District’s actions violate [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act  of 1993] RFRA,” McFadden wrote.

“The District’s current restrictions substantially burden the church’s exercise of religion. More, the District has failed to offer evidence at this stage showing that it has a compelling interest in preventing the church from meeting outdoors with appropriate precautions, or that this prohibition is the least-restrictive means to achieve its interest. The Court will therefore grant the Church’s motion for injunctive relief,” McFadden continued. Continue reading “Federal Judge Tells D.C. Mayor She Cannot Ban Meetings of Capitol Hill Baptist Church”

Justice Department Sides With Capitol Hill Baptist Church Against Bowser, D.C. Government

Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) is being unreasonably burdened by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. government with its anti-Covid regulations that effectively bar members of the congregation from exercising their First Amendment right to religious freedom, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Senior Pastor Mark Dever (Screenshot from CHBC video).

“Here, Defendants (collectively, the Honorable Muriel Bowser and the District of Columbia) are imposing a substantial burden, within the meaning of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), on Plaintiff Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s religious exercise by denying the church the ability to gather as a single body as required by its sincere religious faith,” DOJ said in a Statement of Interest filed Friday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The CHBC, represented by the First Liberty Institute, filed suit in the federal court last week against the regulations.

“This triggers strict scrutiny: Defendants must meet the high burden of showing that their actions support a compelling governmental interest pursued through the least restrictive means. Continue reading “Justice Department Sides With Capitol Hill Baptist Church Against Bowser, D.C. Government”

What’s This? Atheist Group Files SCOTUS Brief Backing Christian Student’s Right To Witness

Three cheers for the American Humanist Association (AHA), which has filed a brief in the Supreme Court case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, that will be argue soon before the nation’s highest tribunal.

Contrary to the appearance of the case title, it’s about  the right of individual students  — in this case, Chike Uzuegbunam, a now-former Georgia Gwinnett College student — to share their religious faith on campus.

Uzuegbunam, who is represented in the litigation by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), had twice attempted to distribute Christian witnessing materials outside of two tiny “free-speech zones” on the campus.

The ADF is also representing Joseph Bradford, another former student at the Georgia school who “self-censored” after seeing how Uzuegbunam was treated.

“People need to be given every chance to preserve their First Amendment rights. While the AHA and ADF may approach the Constitution from different angles, at the very least we agree that First Amendment litigation and the associated rights are essential to our democracy,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said in a statement announcing the brief’s filing.


 

DOJ Warns San Francisco Officials They Can’t Limit Church To One Congregant At A Time

Department of Justice officials have warned San Francisco authorities that their decree limiting church attendance in the “City by the Bay” to one person at a time is unconstitutional and a violation of every San Franciscan’s right to freedom of religious practice.

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

In a September 25 letter to Mayor London Breed, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric Drieband and U.S. Attorney for Northern California David Anderson wrote:

“San Francisco’s treatment of places of worship raises serious concerns about religious freedom. In particular, the limitation of indoor worship to one congregant without regard to the size of the place of worship is draconian, out of step with the treatment afforded other similar indoor activities in San Francisco, wholly at odds with this Nation’s traditional understanding of religious liberty, and may violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. Continue reading “DOJ Warns San Francisco Officials They Can’t Limit Church To One Congregant At A Time”