1. Progressives for Speech Discrimination, By The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2023, Pg. A14, Editorial Constitutional Law 101 teaches that the First Amendment forbids legislation that discriminates based on viewpoint. In a major victory for free speech, a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday ruled that governments also can’t selectively enforce laws based on viewpoint.  After George Floyd’s death in May 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser commissioned a painting of “Black Lives Matter” to cover a street. People also plastered construction scaffolding with graffiti, murals, and photographs that included “Black Lives Matter” messages.  When two pro-life supporters tried to chalk “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” on the sidewalk, they were arrested. Pro-life groups were also denied permission at another rally to mark up the street or sidewalk. They sued the city for violating the First Amendment by selectively enforcing its defacement law based on viewpoint. A D.C. Circuit panel ruled 3-0 in their favor. While governments enjoy discretion over when and how they prosecute laws, “the executive cannot selectively enforce the law in a way that violates the Constitution,” Judge Neomi Rao wrote. This means governments must treat similarly-situated individuals and groups similarly when they restrict speech. “The government may not play favorites in a public forum—permitting some messages and prohibiting others,” Judge Rao stressed. This may seem like common sense, but progressive politicians need to be reminded of it. https://www.wsj.com/articles/frederick-douglass-foundation-v-d-c-neomi-rao-protesters-defacement-law-washington-muriel-bowser-b6cb39af__________________________________________________________ 2. Muslim mobs attack churches in eastern Pakistan after accusing Christians of desecrating the Quran, By Asim Tanveer and Munir Ahmed, Associated Press, August 17, 2023, 1:05 AM Muslims in eastern Pakistan went on a rampage Wednesday over allegations that a Christian man had desecrated the Quran, demolishing the man’s house, burning churches and damaging several other homes, police and local Christians said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.  Videos and photos posted on social media show an angry mob descending upon a church, throwing pieces of bricks and burning it. In another video, two other churches are attacked, their windows broken as attackers throw furniture out and set it on fire. Several policemen are seen in the videos watching the situation without intervening to stop the vandalism.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/08/16/pakistan-muslim-attack-churches-blasphemy-christian-faisalabad/067a624e-3c2f-11ee-aefd-40c039a855ba_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Is there permission to harass and exclude Christians?, Liberals want everyone to live out their identity, except orthodox believers, By Donald Sweeting, The Washington Times, August 17, 2023, Pg. B4 Vitriol toward Christians seems to be increasing among liberals, who view Judeo-Christian heritage as a source of oppression. They rarely come out and say it, but evidence is mounting that this is what they believe. Their intent appears to be to eliminate this heritage from our public space. Take the state of Colorado, which has shifted significantly under Democratic rule and aggressively gone after Christian businesses and ministries. What else explains the pattern of animus in the state? The latest incident is the opposition to a Colorado preschool. Darren Patterson Christian Academy is a faith-based preschool that has served Chaffee County families for over 40 years. When it applied for the state’s new universal preschool program funding, the state denied it, saying that the school can’t hire employees based on its religious beliefs. The preschool is now suing the state.  The high court reminded the country that Americans who have traditional and biblical views about marriage and sexuality are equally protected in the public square. Despite this, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said that “we don’t need to change the nature of our anti-discrimination laws.” What ties all of this together is a resolute, vocal, strident, public and increasingly aggressive anti-Christian bigotry.  This new pattern of harassment and exclusion amounts to reverse discrimination against millions of people who live by Judeo-Christian moral law. It is not exclusive to Colorado; it has advanced more rapidly in blue states. Look for it to spread wherever “progressives” take control. This animus will not stop with Christians. It will target Orthodox Jews and Muslims for the same reasons. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/aug/16/liberals-want-everyone-to-live-out-their-identity-/__________________________________________________________ 4. Nicaraguan government seizes highly regarded university from Jesuits, By Associated Press, August 16, 2023, 10:57 PMNicaragua’s government has confiscated a prestigious Jesuit-run university alleging it was a “center of terrorism,” the college said Wednesday in announcing the latest in a series of actions by authorities against the Catholic Church and opposition figures. The University of Central America in Nicaragua, which was a hub for 2018 protests against the regime of President Daniel Ortega, called the terrorism accusation unfounded and the seizure a blow to academia in Nicaragua.  https://apnews.com/article/nicaragua-jesuits-university-seizure-ad18d55bc08a9ab2b9aaf4de54899c51__________________________________________________________ 5. An appeals court backs some abortion drug limits, pending the Supreme Court’s approval, By Kevin McGill, Associated Press, August 16, 2023, 7:09 PM Mail-order access to a drug used in the most common form of abortion in the U.S. would end under a federal appeals court ruling issued Wednesday that cannot take effect until the Supreme Court weighs in. The decision by three judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned part of a lower court ruling that would have revoked the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of mifepristone. But it left intact part of the ruling that would end the availability of the drug by mail, allow it to be used through only the seventh week of pregnancy rather than the 10th, and require that it be administered in the presence of a physician. Those restrictions won’t take effect right away because the Supreme Court previously intervened to keep the drug available during the legal fight.  https://apnews.com/article/abortion-pill-restrictions-appeals-court-402be732d162af449c40ed1315cfb851__________________________________________________________ 6. Jimmy Lai remains in jail despite overturned conviction, By The Pillar, August 16, 2023, 8:44 PM A court in Hong Kong has cleared the jailed Catholic publisher Jimmy Lai of the crime of organizing a 2019 pro-democracy demonstration. But a long-time friend of Lai told The Pillar that the decision is meaningless while the publisher remains in prison. Lai, who has been in prison since 2020, was one of seven pro-democracy advocates cleared of the charge of organizing a demonstration in the wake of mass protests following the 2019 bid by the Hong Kong government to pass legislation that would have allowed political detainees to be deported to mainland China to face trial. On Monday, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions for organizing a protest in 2019, which were originally imposed in April 2021, but upheld the convictions of all the defendants for taking part in the same illegal demonstration.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/jimmy-lai-remains-in-jail-despite__________________________________________________________ 7. Court: Maryland parents lack standing in parental rights lawsuit over trans student policy, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, August 16, 2023, 11:30 AM A federal appeals court has thrown out a parental rights lawsuit over a Maryland school district’s policy that allows teachers to withhold information about a student’s transgender identity from his or her parents. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled 2-1 on Monday that the parents lacked standing to sue the Montgomery County Board of Education because the parents never alleged that their children had identified as transgender or that the school district was keeping information away from the parents named in the lawsuit. The ruling found that the parents could not show any injury. “Absent an injury that creates standing, federal courts lack the power to address the parents’ objections to the guidelines,” Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum wrote in the majority opinion.  The policy states that the principal or a designee will work with the transgender student to develop a plan to ensure the student has equal access and opportunity to participate in programs and activities without any gender-based discrimination. The policy states that the school should ascertain the support from home before contacting parents and can withhold information from the parents if the student does not have support from home or believes he or she will not receive support. Judge Paul V. Niemeyer dissented from the majority opinion and argued that the parents had standing because their children are still subject to the policy in question.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255100/court-maryland-parents-lack-standing-in-parental-rights-lawsuit-over-trans-student-policy__________________________________________________________ 8. 7 Ways Grandparents Assist in the Salvation of the Human Race, Pope Francis has greatly expanded the papal magisterium on the importance of the elderly., By Father Roger Landry, National Catholic Register, August 16, 2023, Opinion When Pope Francis was giving his aerial press conference returning from World Youth Day in Lisbon, he said the main issue in caring for the young is “accompaniment,” but “the problem is to know how to do this.” He described what he thinks is the most important part of that know-how: the “dialogue between old and young, between grandparents and grandchildren. This dialogue is important,” he emphasized, “more important than dialogue between parents and children.”  We can focus on seven of his major insights. The first is that “old age is a gift for all stages of life.” It’s a living endowment of maturity, wisdom, authority, holiness and loving service for children, grandchildren and the whole community. In sacred Scripture, long life is seen as divine blessing, seen in the lifespan of Noah, Abraham and Moses.  Second, he says that the elderly are civilization’s great teachers, living encyclopedias who cultivate memory, show how we fit into a much larger history, and help us learn how to be human. They unite a wisdom of head and heart. They reveal that what matters is ultimately not physical strength and vigor, but the wisdom that comes from God and from time. When Pope Francis used to refer to Pope Benedict XVI as a “grandfather” for God’s family, he was paying him a supreme compliment, highlighting his counsel as a treasure for him and the Church. Third, we need to get ready for old age. Old age is easily misunderstood. Pope Francis says that few prepare adequately for it beyond health care plans and retirement accounts.  Fourth, grandparents are called to be guardians of “tradition” and the transmission of the faith. The vocation of the elderly, he says, is to “bear witness of humanity and faith.”  Fifth, to protect this transmission of wisdom, grandparents must become prophets against the corruption that afflicts each age. With prudence rather than screeds, they need to “sound the alarm” against relativism and help people see the dangers flowing from ideology of utilitarianism, the obsession of pleasure, and the pursuit of a life not based on truth, beauty, justice and sacrifice.  Sixth, he urges grandparents to form a “covenant” with the young.  Finally, he says that grandparents and the elderly demonstrate the fullness and meaning of life paradoxically by teaching us how to prepare for death. They show that life on earth is not a nostalgia for the past but a “time of initiation,” a “novitiate,” a period of “promise” and “eager expectation” that the “best is yet to come.” They teach us the meaning of time by means of the horizon of eternity, that death is a birth into a new life, “superior to the time of mortal life,” in that place where Jesus has gone to prepare.  https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/7-ways-grandparents-assist-in-the-salvation-of-the-human-race__________________________________________________________ 9. NJ Supreme Court Decides Catholic Schools Can Be Catholic — That’s Good News, The court’s unanimous Aug. 14 decision marks a victory for all faith-based schools in the Garden State., By Daniel Benson, National Catholic Register, August 16, 2023, Opinion After almost a decade of litigation, the New Jersey Supreme Court yesterday reached the sensible conclusion Aug. 14 that Catholic schools may require their teachers to follow Catholic teaching. That is crucial to the ability of Catholic schools to carry out their mission of training up the next generation in the faith. But this decision isn’t just about Catholic schools. It’s also a win for all religious groups in the state.  To ensure its ministry remains strong, St. Theresa — like all other schools in the archdiocese — requires all of its staff to respect and promote the Church’s teachings. For this reason, all staff must sign an agreement to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church in both their professional and private lives — serving as examples of the faith to both the students and the community alike. But in 2013, one of St. Theresa’s teachers told the principal that she was violating her contract and Church teaching, and St. Theresa decided not to offer a new contract for the following school year. The teacher sued for discrimination, and nine years later, the case ended up before the New Jersey Supreme Court. My firm, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, argued the case on behalf of Agudath Israel of America, one of the nation’s leading Orthodox Jewish umbrella organizations. We argued that the doctrine of church autonomy — which provides religious groups the power to decide matters of faith, doctrine and internal governance — protects religious schools in making such decisions. Requiring a religious school of any faith to keep a teacher on staff who publicly violates religious teaching would undermine its ability to carry out its mission of educating future generations in the faith. That is especially so for Orthodox Jewish schools, which are essential to the continuing existence of Orthodox Judaism. How can a Jewish school teach kids the importance of keeping kosher if they see their teacher eating a ham and cheese sandwich at lunch?   Importantly, the court rejected calls from groups like the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (formerly known as “Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State”) to limit these religious-liberty protections to only narrow categories of religious school employees, such as priests. The court broadly protected religious schools’ ability to require all their employees to follow their religious teachings. This historic decision is particularly important for small religious groups — like many parochial schools and Jewish schools — that don’t have the resources to go to court to protect their freedom. With this decision in hand, they can quickly resolve potential disputes about their religious employment standards and return to their mission of educating children and serving the community — as it should be. Daniel Benson is counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Agudath Israel of America in the case. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/nj-supreme-court-decides-catholic-schools-can-be-catholic-that-s-good-news__________________________________________________________

TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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