1. Academia’s hostility to intellectual diversity suffers a courtroom setback, By George F. Will, The Washington Post, July 28, 2021, 7:00 AM, Opinion
It is not surprising when a compound of moral arrogance and political authoritarianism — e.g., the culture of today’s academia — produces intolerance of intellectual diversity and disdain for the law. Nevertheless, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit was startled by the behavior of the University of Iowa: “We are hard-pressed to find a clearer example of viewpoint discrimination.”

In 2017, a gay student filed a complaint against Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC), claiming he was denied a leadership position because he refused to subscribe to the group’s conviction that same-sex marriage is biblically forbidden. The university deregistered BLinC, saying it violated the university’s Human Rights Policy by disqualifying individuals from leadership positions “on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
BLinC sued, asserting violations of First Amendment guarantees of free speech, free association and free exercise of religion. A district court supported BLinC with an injunction, but granted the university representatives qualified immunity from personal liability because they supposedly acted where there was not “clearly established law.”

After the district court’s injunction for BLinC, the university reinstated InterVarsity and other deregistered religious groups. But rather than obeying that court’s order to treat RSOs equally, the university intensified its unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. The university’s compliance review targeted religious organizations and, the 8th Circuit tartly says, the university’s fervor “dissipated” when it finished with religious RSOs.

The university’s contempt for the district court’s order in the BLinC case indicates that the university officials felt their political high-mindedness entitled them to disregard the law in order to enforce conformity to progressive opinions that hardly need such buttressing on today’s intellectually monochrome campuses. The 8th Circuit concluded:
“What the University did here was clearly unconstitutional. It targeted religious groups for differential treatment under the Human Rights Policy — while carving out exemptions and ignoring other violative groups with missions they presumably supported. The University and individual defendants turned a blind eye to decades of First Amendment jurisprudence or they proceeded full speed ahead knowing they were violating the law. Either way, qualified immunity provides no safe haven.”
So, they can be sued. And they will be. Which should be an educational experience for them, and a teachable moment for the many others like them in today’s academia.
2. Study: Only half of American households donate to charity, By Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press, July 27, 2021, 5:06 PM
For the first time in nearly two decades, only half of U.S. households donated to a charity, according to a study released Tuesday. The findings confirm a trend worrying experts: Donations to charitable causes are reaching record highs, but the giving is done by a smaller and smaller slice of the population.
The study, published every other year by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, comes from a survey that has been tracking the giving patterns of more than 9,000 households since 2000, when 66% of U.S. households donated to a charitable organization. That number dropped to 49.6% in 2018, the latest year with comprehensive figures from those households.
Experts say many factors are contributing to the decline. The percentage of Americans who give to religious causes has decreased in tandem with attendance at worship services as the number of Americans not affiliated with any religion grows. Separately, the share of Americans who give to secular causes began to drop following the economic turbulence of the Great Recession, but it hasn’t bounced back. It reached a new low — 42% — in 2018, the study said.
3. Designer who won’t make same-sex wedding websites loses case, By James Anderson, Associated Press, July 27, 2021, 1:17 PM
A U.S. appeals court has ruled against a web designer who didn’t want to create wedding websites for same-sex couples and sued to challenge Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, another twist in a series of court rulings nationwide about whether businesses denying services to LGBTQ people amounts to bias or freedom of speech.
A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday denied Lorie Smith’s attempt to overturn a lower court ruling throwing out her legal challenge.
4. Bonkers Tenth Circuit Ruling Against Free Speech, By Ed Whelan, National Review, July 27, 2021, 11:47 AM, Opinion
In a stunning ruling yesterday in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, a divided panel of the Tenth Circuit held that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act “permissibly compels” a graphic and website design company to offer wedding websites that “celebrate same-sex marriages” if it is going to offer wedding websites that celebrate opposite-sex marriages. Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote the majority opinion, which Judge Michael Murphy joined. Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich dissented.

For Briscoe, it doesn’t matter that there are lots of other website design companies that can provide custom wedding websites that celebrate same-sex marriages. Somehow the very fact that Appellants provide custom websites means that they are providing a service that is “unique” for purposes of the “narrow tailoring” inquiry.

Briscoe’s ruling would have sweeping consequences. Tymkovich in dissent observes that Briscoe’s ruling, “[t]aken to its logical end, [would mean that] the government could regulate the messages communicated by all artists, forcing them to promote messages approved by the government in the name of ‘ensuring access to the commercial marketplace.’”
5. Cardinal in Vatican fraud trial: My conscience is ‘tranquil’, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, July 27, 2021, 4:03 PM
A fraud and embezzlement trial over alleged mismanagement of the Holy See’s investments began Tuesday in Vatican City, with a once-powerful cardinal among the 10 defendants saying he remains “obedient” to Pope Francis, who stripped his privileges to bring him before the tribunal.
’’He wanted me to be on trial, and I’m coming to the trial. I’m serene. I feel tranquil in my conscience,″ Cardinal Angelo Becciu, one of two defendants who attended the largely procedural, seven-hour session, told reporters afterward.
6. Cardinal Gregory reportedly withdraws permission for Tridentine Mass at National Shrine, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, July 27, 2021, 4:10 PM
Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington has reportedly withdrawn permission for a solemn pontifical Mass that was to be offered August 14 in D.C.
A pontifical Mass is celebrated by a bishop in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Mass, scheduled for the vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption, was to be offered by at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The Paulus Institute, a group dedicated to promoting the sacred liturgy, organized the event, which was to be broadcast by EWTN. On its Facebook page on July 27, the institute announced that permission for the Mass was rescinded by the Archbishop of Washington.
“Cardinal Wilton Gregory has withdrawn the permission he had given to Archbishop Thomas Gullickson to celebrate a Pontifical Solemn Mass on August 14,” Donna Bethell of the Paulus Institute said in a statement to CNA on Tuesday. Cardinal Gregory, she said, “cited Traditionis custodes as the reason, without further specificity.”
7. Location-based apps pose security risk for Holy See, By The Pillar, July 27, 2021
The use of location-based hookup apps by officials or employees of Church institutions could present serious security problems for the Church, even at the level of the Holy See’s diplomatic and international relations.
The use of such apps within the Vatican City State could be a point of vulnerability in the Holy See’s efforts to defend itself from cyberattacks and other intelligence-gathering exercises in recent years.

Analysis of commercially available signal data obtained by The Pillar, which was legally obtained and whose authenticity The Pillar has confirmed, shows that during a period of 26 weeks in 2018, at least 32 mobile devices emitted serially occurring hookup or dating app data signals from secured areas and buildings of the Vatican ordinarily inaccessible to tourists and pilgrims.

The use of any hookup app within the Vatican City State’s secured areas could pose a security risk for the Holy See. And use of the Grindr app among Vatican residents and officials and within the non-public areas of Vatican City State could present a particular diplomatic security risk for the Holy See in its dealings with China. 
The company was launched in California, but acquired by the Chinese gaming firm Beijing Kunlun Tech in 2016 for $93 million.
While it was under Chinese ownership, the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) deemed the app’s ownership a national security risk, over concerns that data from the app’s some 27 million users could be accessed by the Chinese government and used for blackmail.
The app was sold in 2020 to a company based in the United States for a reported $608 million, at the demand of the U.S. government.

Because Chinese law requires tech companies to provide access to national intelligence-gathering agencies, app data could be available to the Chinese government.

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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