An Ohio magistrate has recommended that Dr. Nicholas Meriwether’s lawsuit against Shawnee State University (previously discussed) be dismissed. Meriwether had sued when it punished him after he refused to address a biologically male student with a female title — though he did agree to use only a last name.
“Speech by a government employee is protected under the First Amendment only if the speech was made ‘as a citizen’ while addressing ‘a matter of public concern,’” Litkovitz’s recommendation filing reads. “A government employee’s speech is made ‘as a citizen’ and is protected under the First Amendment only when the speech is not ‘pursuant to [the employee’s] duties.’”
That’s an awkward justification, because Meriwether was not punished for making what he claimed was protected speech. Instead, he was being required by the government to have certain content in his speech — content that conveyed a particular ideological view.
The ADF lawyers helping Meriwether said they’ll object on that basis: Read more
Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, has filed a lawsuit against his school because it requires faculty to address students by the students’ “preferred pronoun.” As announced by the ADF, which is representing Meriwether:
In January, during a political philosophy class he was teaching, Meriwether responded to a male student’s question by saying, “Yes, sir.” Meriwether responded in this fashion because he refers to all his students as “sir” or “ma’am” or by a title (Mr. or Miss, for example) followed by their last name to foster an atmosphere of seriousness and mutual respect.
The student’s sensibilities were so offended he shouted vulgarities at the professor and threatened to get him fired.
Ultimately, the school accused him of creating a “hostile” environment and placed a warning in his file — a warning that he must call the students by their chosen pronouns.
Meriwether cannot do so, because he said that would violate his religious beliefs: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently publicized a letter (PDF) he wrote to Jeff Bezos, CEO of online shopping giant Amazon, to protest the removal of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) from the company’s charity program AmazonSmile. Weinstein titled his letter a “principled DEFENSE of RIVAL organization” (emphasis original) and said:
Frankly, we disagree with ADF’s positions on almost everything in law and policy. For years we’ve crossed swords and fought for our respective opposing views. But it is one thing to fight for ideals, and it’s another to marginalize and suppress others — even those you vehemently disagree with. And that is what’s happening when ADF is branded a “hate” group and thrown out of the Amazon Smile program.
It sounds noble, but it is very unusual for Weinstein — and wholly inconsistent Read more
The town of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, opted to create a “limited public forum” after the Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened to sue them into financial ruin.
Because of a veterans’ memorial.
A display in a cemetery in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, honoring veterans consists of a soldier kneeling in prayer before a cross next to a grave. But a local citizen complained to the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Doug Wardlow tells OneNewsNow the city council received a threatening letter from FFRF, contending the Constitution was being violated.
The town council initially voted to cut the cross off the memorial — which Read more
In a seemingly rare occurrence, the US Air Force Academy received a bit of positive press when the American Family Association asked people to sign a petition thanking USAFA for protecting the religious liberty of its cadets. Noting the faux-controversy of USAFA football players taking a knee in the end zone, the AFA first quoted the official USAFA response:
The United States Air Force Academy places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religion or to observe no religion at all. Recently, the United States Air Force Academy received a complaint about its football players kneeling in prayer. An inquiry was initiated, which found the football players’ actions to be consistent with Air Force Instruction 1-1 and its guidance on the free exercise of religion and religious accommodation.
The United States Air Force Academy will continue to reaffirm to cadets that all Airmen are free to practice the religion of their choice or subscribe to no religious belief at all. The players may confidently practice their own beliefs without pressure to participate in the practices of others.
The AFA concluded with: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein relies heavily on his credentials as a “former Air Force JAG.” Presumably, people outside the military ascribe to a JAG a particular expertise on military regulations and the law, and Weinstein seeks to benefit from that connotation.
When Weinstein recently demanded that the US Air Force Academy prohibit cadets from praying, it was notable that not one but two former JAGs spoke up in defense of the military religious freedom Weinstein’s “Military Religious Freedom Foundation” sought to ban.
The Alliance Defending Freedom’s Daniel Briggs wrote a letter (PDF) that became the “opposing viewpoint” that required USAFA to be “prudent and deliberate” in its review of Weinstein’s complaint. Briggs said [emphasis added]
Cadet-led prayer does not violate any purported ‘separation of church and state.’ Courts have long recognized that this term is a misrepresented and tiresome platitude found nowhere Read more
The 180th Fighter Wing Commander has reportedly censored an article written by his Medical Group Commander, Col Florencio Marquinez, because of a complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. (The article can be read here.)
According to the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), [a civilian] complained about Marquinez’ article, claiming that it was “odious” and “offending.” In response to the complaint, Commander Col. Craig R. Baker ordered the newsletter to be republished without Marquinez’ piece.
Weinstein claimed full credit, praising the commander. The “odious” and “offending” words were his [emphasis added]: Read more
In what is likely a continuation of an action by the Military Religious Freedom Coalition, the Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking to learn how and why the Air Force chose to censor an article on faith written by Chaplain (LtCol) Kenneth Reyes. The ADF notes Col Duffy’s decision — based explicitly on someone’s “offense” — has wider implications than just one web posting by Chaplain Reyes.
The FOIA also seeks to know the extent of the relationship between Col Brian Duffy, the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson commander, and the MRFF — namely, Read more