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
A variety of religious and liberty groups have called on Congress to reverse the military’s decision to allow transgender service, saying:
This [policy] is an affront to the American people and is certain to undermine readiness, recruitment, and retention in the military. Thus, we urge you to halt the implementation…
The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell took an act of Congress because the ban on homosexual service was part of US law. (Many forget that DADT was the policy used to avoid enforcing the law banning homosexuals from the US military.) The military could not change its policy without Congress changing the law.
But the ban on transgenderism was more basic. It was simply Read more
A few weeks ago, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein praised a new Department of Veterans Affairs memorandum (PDF) regarding religious exercise and expression, saying the [emphasis added]
MRFF [was] validated by [the] Department of Veterans Affairs Memorandum! The VA finally gets it: POW/MIA Bible displays can’t favor one religion.
Yesterday, retired US Army General William “Jerry” Boykin commended the same Veterans Read more
…and the US military appears to officially endorse “mixed genitalia” showers.
Daniel Briggs, director of military affairs for the Alliance Defending Freedom, is a former Air Force JAG. Writing at The Daily Signal, he noted the DoD’s new policy initiative on people who are transgendered fails to even mention religious freedom, despite its importance — particularly with respect to the medical professionals who have a large role in the change [emphasis added]:
Neither the instruction nor the memo acknowledges the religious freedom, freedom of conscience, or professional discretion of military medical providers…
What about the medical providers who do not provide the diagnosis or treatment a service member seeks? Perhaps their religious beliefs confirm their medical understanding of gender being inextricably linked to biological sex, leading them to conclude that this service member needs help (counseling, therapy) but not affirmation.
Briggs is essentially saying the transgender transition (in policy), which was not subject Read more
The Alliance Defending Freedom and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty have filed an amicus brief on behalf of court-martialed Marine Monifa Sterling. Among other things, Sterling was convicted of disobeying orders for refusing to remove references to a Bible verse from her desk.
In short, the brief (PDF) calls on the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to overturn the lower court ruling that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply, which essentially negated Sterling’s defense on that point. The effect, said the ADF’s Daniel Briggs, could be a chilling of religious 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