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Ninth Circuit Forbids School Board Invocations and Censors Private Citizens

in Blog, Cases, Media, Ninth Circuit, Press Releases 4 Comments


PRESS RELEASE

Tyler & Bursch, LLP
July 25, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Desare Ferraro at 951-600-2733

Ninth Circuit Forbids School Board Invocations and Censors Private Citizens

Chino, CA —Today, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the Chino Valley Unified School District board policy that allows invocations before the start of school board meetings is a violation of the Establishment Clause. The Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals came to a different conclusion in 2017 in American Humanist Association v. McCarty.

The Ninth Circuit further affirms the District Court’s injunction that enjoins the CVUSD school board members “from conducting, permitting or otherwise endorsing school sponsored prayer in Board meetings.”

“This requires the Board to censor or otherwise remove individuals who attempt to say a prayer, or anything that might resemble a prayer, during the public comment period,” said Robert Tyler of Tyler & Burch, LLP and legal counsel for CVUSD. “Such an overbroad injunction is a clear violation of the right of private citizens to address their local representatives in public meetings and is dangerous to the First Amendment.” Footnote 20 of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion makes this point more clear.

In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld ceremonial prayer at city council meetings in Town of Greece v Galloway. In that decision, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted the historical significance of such invocations. “Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this Nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of government…,” Kennedy wrote.

The CVUSD school board will be meeting in the coming weeks to determine its next course of action.

A copy of the Ninth Circuit’s Opinion can be found here.

The Riverside County law firm of Tyler & Bursch, LLP, represents CVUSD, with the support of Advocates for Faith & Freedom, a nonprofit legal organization.

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To learn more about Advocates for Faith & Freedom, visit www.faith-freedom.com or Tyler & Bursch, LLP, visit www.tylerbursch.com

Advocates for Faith & Freedom is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty in the courts. The firm, in association with Tyler & Bursch LLP, has represented clients across the country on matters governing land use and religious liberty in the public square.

“A Judge’s Judge”

in Advocates in Action, Blog, U.S. Supreme Court 5 Comments
That’s how President Trump described Judge Brett Kavanaugh when he proudly announced his nomination for the United States Supreme Court.

Within minutes, realizing this big win for constitutional conservatives, Democrats ran to their stages and microphones, sounding the alarm to their pro-abortion base that this will be the fight of their lifetimes and they

vowed to oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything they have.

Abortion activists like Naral Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, viciously bellowed her opposition to this well-known and respected jurist saying Judge Kavanaugh would use the court “as a tool to eradicate women’s right” to make the most fundamental decisions about their bodies.

In his remarks during his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump noted, “What matters is not a judge’s political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require. I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.”

At a time when so many judges either do not understand or do not respect the limit of the court, Judge Kavanaugh’s acceptance speech brought hope to all Americans who respect our Constitution. He said, “A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law,” Kavanaugh said. “A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.”

Advocates for Faith & Freedom’s current Religious Land Use case, Calvary Chapel Bible Fellowship v. County of Riverside, is a clear case of government overreach and the outcome will rely on Constitutional jurisprudence.  In California’s 9th Circuit, the country’s most overturned court in the nation, that might be unlikely. With Judge Kavanaugh confirmed, it will be a comfort to know that the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority will seek to rule in accordance with the Constitution, not their personal ideology.

We encourage every Christian to call your two U.S. Senators and ask for a swift confirmation for Judge Kavanaugh.

Today’s Supreme Court Ruling a Severe Rebuke to California Lawmakers!

Riverside County, CA (June 26, 2018)  Today, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of NIFLA and against the Reproductive FACT Act, the California law that would force faith-based pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion.

Back in October 2017 in our case against this law, Scharpen Foundation v. Javier Becerra, a Riverside County Superior Court judge granted an injunction against the State, ruling it infringed upon free speech and therefore was a violation of the California Constitution.

After hearing about today’s concurring Supreme Court ruling, Robert Tyler, General Counsel for Tyler & Bursch’ LLP, commented, “After our victory in state court, and now this victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, our state case should be concluded and the judgment we received in our favor will no longer be subject to appeal by the State Attorney General. The California Legislature, Governor Brown and General Javier Bacerra should recognize this decision as a severe rebuke to their disregard for the Constitution.”

Nada Higuera, the Tyler & Bursch attorney who successfully argued the Scharpen case in Riverside County had this to say about the ruling, “The Supreme Court hit a home run and affirmed the principle that no American should be forced to speak a message that they disagree with. But this is not just a victory for free speech. It is also victory for the countless pregnancy resource centers and the women they serve. It is a victory for life!”

Both Robert Tyler and Nada Higuera will be available for comment and interviews today. Please call or text Desaré Ferraro at 714-348-0808 or email dferraro@tylerbursch.com.

About Tyler & Bursch, LLP and Advocates for Faith &Freedom: Tyler & Bursch’s attorneys have been serving businesses and individuals throughout Southern California for almost 20 years in federal and state trial courts, courts of appeal and arbitration. Tyler & Bursch provides legal and financial support to their non-profit law firm, Advocates for Faith & Freedom in defense of constitutional and religious liberty.

Opposition to AB 2943 Among Former Homosexuals is Growing!

 Our Orange County press conference denouncing the Assembly Bill that would take away choice was held this week at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Santa Ana amidst the noisy efforts of LGBT protesters who refuse to accept that God can change lives.

This bill’s hostility toward consenting adults who have chosen to live a life in accordance with their faith and identity as a Christian will prohibit them from purchasing supportive books or from obtaining supportive counseling for their unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.

During the press conference, we heard from several compelling men and women of varying ethnicities who are former homosexuals, former lesbians and same-sex attracted. They told about their own life-changing experiences and how, through the love and support of the church and the power of the Holy Spirit, they have benefited by the very services AB 2943 intends to ban.

One such young man was Florida Pulse Nightclub survivor Luis Javier Ruiz, who told us that, instead of living with pain and depression, he has found joy in the love of Jesus Christ and freedom from homosexuality! Another was 28 year old Southern California seminary student Neal Hardin, who says that his identity is more than just his sexuality. “My identity is that I am a Christian!”

          View the video to hear Advocates attorney, Robert Tyler explain why this dangerous and unconstitutional bill must not be allowed to become law.  Watch as black, brown, and white former homosexuals and church leaders representing over 700 pastors from throughout California speak out against AB 2943.

Plainly put, Assembly Bill 2943 (Evan Low, D-San Jose, LGBT Caucus) violates free speech, promotes viewpoint discrimination and denies the right to choose. It is scheduled to be heard by the State Senate Judiciary Committee on June 12, 2018.

If you’re in California and you don’t want to live in a state that makes it illegal for someone to seek help from books and counselors of their choice – a state that denies Christians the right to choose their identity in Christ, not their sexuality, please take a moment to find your State Senator and call and ask them to vote NO on AB 2943.

          Please Click Here to Donate so Advocates for Faith & Freedom can continue to preserve our churches, our Bible and our religious liberties by fighting bills like these.  Especially so we’ll be able to help those who are in emotional and spiritual crisis through the loving support of the church and the healing power of the Lord.

Is There a Disconnect Between Church-goers and Their Pastors?

in Blog, Church and State, Newsletters 9 Comments

As a national defender in the fight for religious freedoms and parental rights, Advocates for Faith & Freedom has increasingly seen pastors back away from teaching biblical worldviews from the pulpit, primarily because of their perception that their congregants don’t want to hear it. This has resulted in a growing disconnect between Christian conservatives and their pastors.

Interestingly enough, a new survey titled “What God’s People Want to Know,” commissioned by WallBuilders and the American Culture & Faith Institute shows conservative Christians actually want to hear more about political issue-related teaching from the pulpit. The fascinating survey asked moderate and conservative Christians about the types of issue-related teaching they wanted to hear from their pastors during the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Contrary to the notion of many pastors that religion has no place in the public square, the findings demonstrate that Christians who hold politically conservative views believe that churches should be more involved in the political process—the opposite message we hear from progressives and the media.

Two out of three respondents said they want more information from their church about what the Bible teaches in relation to current social and political issues.  At least 80% of the respondents indicated their greatest need for information related to the following six issues of “high importance”: Abortion (91%); Religious persecution/liberty (86%); Poverty (85%); Cultural restoration (83%); Sexual identity (82%); and Israel (80%).

Sadly, the survey also found that one out of every five conservative pastors did not even encourage their congregants to vote in November 2014. It is also alarming that one-quarter of conservative pastors did not teach their congregants biblical principles

about important social and political issues during the six months preceding the election.

The results also underscored just how tone deaf the media and political candidates are when it comes to the issues most important to conservative Christians. Topics frequently pushed by the media, such as healthcare, foreign policy, immigration reform, jobs/unemployment, taxes, gun rights, military spending, and campaign finance reform, did not make the list of issues that mattered.

          What does all this mean and why is it important? The survey reinforces what we have already seen in our legal defense ministry: There is a correlation between the declining spiritual and social health of America and the lack of engagement of our pastors. In the words of the survey summary, “The nation has been demonstrably worse off ever since pastors chose to disconnect faith from politics and governance. America urgently needs cultural direction from those whom God has placed in positions of spiritual leadership. One way of providing such leadership is by shaping the thinking of Christians by teaching them foundational biblical principles related to pressing social and political issues of the day.” To that, we say Amen!

          So, what can congregants do to encourage their pastors to preach on what the Bible says about social and cultural matters?  Try telling your pastor the following:

  • You’re interested in learning what the Bible teaches on the topics and would consider them appropriate subjects for the pastor to teach from the pulpit.
  • You have appreciated the times when the pastor has addressed current issues from a biblical perspective, and you hope to experience more of that kind of teaching on a broader range of issues.
  •  You believe learning about what the Bible says in relation to current issues of importance – beyond abortion and same-sex marriage—would be a significant contribution to the body of Christ.

        I believe that pastors have more than an opportunity to teach on these matters; they have a responsibility and calling to do so. While pushback from some congregants is likely, especially those who are more theologically moderate, addressing these issues may serve as an impetus to developing a more biblically centered worldview among many people in the congregation.

We at Advocates for Faith & Freedom are holding free seminars for pastors, administrators, and other non-profit ministries to equip them in leading the Church to positively impact social and political issues. (Check our website at http://www.faith-freedom.com/events for upcoming details).

If you would like more information on what your pastor or church can legally do in terms of speaking about political issues from the pulpit, we have numerous resources available on our website, including the handout “Pastors & Politics: What is Legal and Illegal” and a 10-page booklet, “The First Amendment in Crisis: The Intersection of Church and State.” You can access this information at http://www.faith-freedom.com/learn/church-and-state/.

Thank you for your financial support! We have much to accomplish to change and shape the moral culture of our communities, but we can only move forward with your help. Please continue to hold our attorneys up in prayer as they continue protecting our cherished religious freedom.

Friends in Ministry….You are Invited to “Emerging Trends” a Critical Conference for Ministries!

in Advocates in Action, Blog 11 Comments
Dear Friend in Ministry,

For many of our ministries, our legal and social world is constantly in flux, and they are having trouble keeping up with everything. We believe we can help!

You’re invited to join us at Azusa Pacific University in Murrieta for this FREE conference to hear from ministry-focused experts about the ever-changing risks of running a ministry and how new, emerging trends will affect ministries of all sizes in 2018 and beyond.

This critical operations conference for church administrators and ministry leaders is a must for those looking for real-world solutions as they work to further the Kingdom.

You’ll hear more about how to handle:

  • Ministry Governance
  • Insurance
  • Sexual Harassment
  • TrumpCare & its Affect on ObamaCare
  • Cyber & Digital Security
  • Managing Emerging Risk
  • Finance and IRS Best Practices
  • Employment Best Practices
  • Counseling Liability
  • Navigating Cultural Change
  • and more!

Mark your calendar for Thursday, May 31, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and meet us at Azusa Pacific University in Murrieta for this exclusive-to-ministry event.  Lunch is included.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact Desaré Ferraro at dferraro@tylerbursch.com or call (951) 600-2733.

In His Service,

Robert Tyler
General Counsel

Please feel free to forward to invite a friend in ministry.

California’s LGBT Legislators Want to Take Away Freedom to Seek Therapy

Last week, AB 2943 passed out of California’s State Assembly with an overwhelming Democrat majority vote.

In another attack on the freedom to live our traditional values, this bill would make it illegal for anyone to sell books, videos, counseling and other services that might help a person overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion.

Despite claims to the contrary by its author, California’s LGBT Caucus Chair, Evan Low, this bill’s language is broad and presents a glaring case of viewpoint discrimination because it allows therapy if the patient and therapist want to confirm the same-sex attraction, but if the attraction is not desired the patient will not be able to receive restorative therapy.

Section 1 (c) “This bill intends to make clear that sexual orientation change efforts are an unlawful practice [emphasis added] under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.”

(i) (1) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.  [emphasis added]

(2) “Sexual orientation change efforts” does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding [emphasis added] of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.

Falling under the State’s consumer fraud law, this bill would make it a violation for a pastor to sell books or literature from the church bookstore that address sexual issues from a traditional values perspective, which could quite possibly include the Bible, because it teaches sexual morality and the importance of sexual purity within the confines of marriage between a man and woman.

CLICK to hear Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Pastor, Jack Hibbs, warn of the dangers this bill could present to pastors and churches.  

AB 2943 would legally deny an individual struggling with unwanted feelings — for instance, a heterosexually married man or woman with children or someone whose goal is to reduce their same-sex attractions or behavior — to seek the therapy they desire. It would also be illegal for someone with unwanted gender identity confusion to receive counseling to discover their heterosexual potential.Advocates is already gearing up to fight, should this become law! Our traditional family values are at stake! The freedom to practice our Christian values is at stake! Our churches and pastors could be targeted!

We ask for your support, first with prayer and next, if you are able, with your donations. Please partner with us as we prepare to fight for hurting individuals who deserve the freedom to seek help from whomever they choose!  

If you would like to sign the petition for AB 2943 please go to this page.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV