Bronx Household of Faith Case Verdict Looms Over Churches Nationwide

As you read this the Bronx Household of Faith case has already appeared before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in its ongoing case to secure the right to meet in New York City’s schools on Sunday for worship. The case has been ongoing since 1995 when Alliance Defending Freedom first took up the case. The lead attorney, Jordan Lorence, recently wrote: “On Monday, we will be appearing before a panel of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which will be sitting in lower Manhattan.  NYC school officials have appealed, arguing that the policy is constitutional, that the appeals court should dissolve the injunction and free them to boot out the churches.  Alliance Defending Freedom will be arguing strongly that the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty requires NYC to allow the churches to stay.  We ask for your prayers for God’s help and mercy as we go forward in this case.” The implications of this case for churches meeting in schools around the country is obvious. There is no existing precedent for refusing to let a church meet in a school. This would be the first if the court refuses access to the churches. Our prayers are needed. Click here for original article.

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

The Silent Battle Against Religious Freedom – Equal Access & Zoning!

equal accessby Nathan A. Cherry, 09/14/2012

Many of the attacks taking place against religious freedom make news headlines and cause waves of protest and angry reactions from people of faith and non-religious people alike. The silent battle taking place that you have probably not heard much about is in the area of zoning and equal access for public facilities. Churches are systematically being forced out of public spaces and told “no” by local zoning offices for permits to expand, or buy property.

In case you have not kept up to date on these silent but very real threats against religious freedom let me highlight a couple of recent incidents. Perhaps the most famous case of attempted discrimination is the ongoing Bronx Household of Faith case in New York City. The city is attempting to forbid any church from meeting in a public school even though many other groups are permitted use of the facilities.

A county in California is attempting to declare itself a “church free” zone and make it illegal for any church to build a building or expand within the county limits.

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About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Government Treats Churches Unfairly by Banning Them from Schools

by Nathan A. Cherry, 08/15/2012

It has been a long 17 year battle against the city of New York. The case that started in 1995 by challenging the city’s ban on churches meeting in public schools has been ongoing. While temporary injunctions have allowed churches to meet in the schools as the case drags on, the end could be in sight. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear the case and a decision could finally end the long legal battle; unless it becomes necessary for the case to go to the Supreme Court. Jordan Lorence, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom has been part of this case every step of the way. He questions: “The city agrees that allowing community groups to use schools enhances civic life; it opens its school buildings for any use ‘pertaining to the welfare of the community.’ Thousands of groups meet regularly in 1,200 city schools for concerts, neighborhood meetings, youth training, even the filming of TV shows like ‘Law and Order.’ So why single out worship services for exclusion?” His question is on the mind of nearly every American that can’t figure out why the city of New York seems to hate churches that serve the community and seek to enhance the neighborhoods they worship in. The question I have is, if the Bronx Household of Faith loses, what does it means for every other church meeting in a school across the nation? Click here for original article.

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Engaging the Issues: Jordan Lorence, Kicking Churches Out of Their Home


What would you do if the government said you could no longer meet in your church home?

For one New York City congregation, it has been a 17-year fight just to win the right to stay put in the community in which they have invested themselves.  Listen as Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, Jordan Lorence, tells how one congregation and, along with them, how a city of churches has stood with them to protect their religious freedom.

Click here to listen now.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

The Engaging Essentials

Abstinence Rising – And the good news is that it’s rising among young adults.

Facebook Blamed for Divorce – Well, that’s sorta true, but, as the story reports, there are other issues which Facebook merely exacerbates.  Still, be careful to give your spouse more attention than your iPad . . . and watch what you post on social media.  P.S.  Blogger Tim Challies has a great book coming out on this very point, The Next Story.

Bible and Homosexual Behavior – Prof. Robert Gagnon responds to a CNN Belief Blog post suggesting that the Bible is either mute or affirming of homosexual behavior by actually looking at what Scripture says.

Abortion is a Social Justice Issue – How can it not be?

Why Congress Is Right, President is Wrong – Jordan Lorence summarizes a more lengthy piece that explains precisely why the President is wrong to (a) unilaterally declare DOMA unconstitutional and (b) decline defending it.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

The Engaging Essentials

DADT Blackmail – The editors at NRO take Sec. Def. Robert Gates to task to effectively blackmailing the Senate into action.  ”Act now” he argues “before a court strikes DADT down.”  The great irony, of course, is that liberals support that reasoning here, but condemn it whenever we suggest the same for supporting a marriage protection amendment.

Of Not Growing Weary of Doing (Public) Good – FRC’s Bob Schwarzwalder has an important reminder for Evangelicals frustrated by the political process.

What Is Marriage? – Matthew Franck summarizes nicely a much longer law review article that urges us to first examine what marriage is before demanding either equality of the institution or enshrining it’s definition in the Constitution.  For the longer article, click here. Incidentally, one of the authors of the law review article is West Virginia’s own Robert P. George.  Kudos.

I Was There – Because of DADT’s consideration in the U.S. Senate this week, the oral arguments before the 9th Circuit over Prop 8 – the constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman in California that 7+ million voters supported –  was nearly lost in the noise.  This is the first of two reports from two men I hold in high regard and am grateful to call them friends.  Here, Jordan Lorence provides an excellent overview of the legal arguments and his thoughts on how the 3-judge panel might rule.

Taking Rights Away? – Aside from being a rabid Yankees fan, Joe Infranco is a great guy and a dear friend.  Also present at the hearing (I saw you on C-Span, Joe), he examines one of the opposition’s fallacious arguments, namely, that Prop 8 takes away a right to same-sex marriage.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

The Engaging Essentials

Interracial Marriage and Mormon Polygamy – Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund expands on the point David French made in yesterday’s Engaging Essentials re: Loving v. Virginia. Can you clearly articulate why references to interracial marriage bans do not equate to marriage protection amendments? Read Jordan’s helpful explanation.

DADT Splitting Groups – Same-sex activists find themselves facing a new, if familiar, foe in their quest to normalize homosexual behavior in the military: their allies.  The Washington Post reports that not everyone in the gay coalition agrees with the strategy.

Are Tea Party Leaders Destroying the Movement? – Joe Carter offers some interesting and valuable critiques of the ongoing efforts to liberalize the conservative movement by sanitizing it of the social issues.

Senate Unsure of Next Step – Ry Rivard does a nice job of covering what’s going on behind the scenes as West Virginia transitions leadership.  With Governor Manchin going to the US Senate, it has had a ripple effect that won’t stop rippling for several months.  Stay tuned.

The Miracle of Thanksgiving – To get you in the mood for next week, here’s a quick interview with Squanto biographer, Eric Metaxes.   I bet you didn’t know all of this:

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

The Engaging Essentials

Charleston City Council Removes Adultery Laws – In an effort to modernize their code, the Charleston City Council removed regulations that would outlaw adultery and fornication.  Mayor Danny Jones laughed, “How did they ever put something like this on the books?”  Perhaps the laws were in need of an update and overhaul, but the story goes on to explain that the City Council is now concerned about laws preventing the sale and resale of pornography and/or immoral books.  Mayor Jones, such laws were put into place to encourage good behavior and punish bad behavior.  Will you likewise chuckle when obscenity laws are tossed out the window as “old-fashioned”?

U.S. Senate Race is Neck and Neck – A left-leaning pollster, Public Policy Polling, has released it’s latest poll concerning the race to fill Sen. Byrd’s vacated seat.  PPP reports that John Raese has a 3 point edge over Gov. Manchin.  Meanwhile, Rasmussen reports that Gov. Manchin has a 7 point lead over Raese.  Hoppy Kercheval sorts much of it out in his daily commentary, but what is clear is this: this race is far from a guaranteed outcome.

Abortion and the UN – Here’s a good piece from a congressman with a warning to the UN as they meet this week to make sure the US does not export abortion.

Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, and George Washington – Jordan Lorence from ADF whimsically connects the dots between these cultural icons.

Rockefeller and Goodwin on DADT – MetroNews carries the statements from WV’s senators who voted in favor of opening the military to homosexual conduct and exporting abortion to our military bases.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

CLS v. Martinez Argument Update

You will recall that the Family Policy Council of West Virginia successfully lobbied Attorney General Darrell McGraw to add his name to a friend-of-the-court brief in the religious liberty case, CLS v. Martinez.

Today, the SCOTUS held arguments in the case.  Since all of us couldn’t be there, our good friend Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund provides us with a video update in this important case:

CLS vs. Martinez – Oral Arguments from Alliance Defense Fund on Vimeo.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Protected Class of Homosexuals Have More Rights

New Mexico photographer denied conscience protection over complaint of homosexual.

By Nathan A. Cherry

Martinsburg, W.V. – Implications for the newly passed federal hate crimes legislation as well as any legislation that makes homosexuals a protected class has been speculated upon for quite some time now. But hard proof for the implications warned about by many pro-family conservatives is now undeniable.

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission has ordered Elane Photography to pay more than $6,600 in lawyer’s fees to Vanessa Willock for refusing to photograph her “commitment ceremony” in 2006. Elane Photography owners Jon and Elaine Huguenin have been found guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination under state antidiscrimination laws,” according to the article at Worldnetdaily.com.

What is shocking is that a judge, lawmaker, or any government official would be so bold as to try and force a person to perform a service that violates their conscience. This is socialism at its worst. Don’t private businesses have the right to refuse service? If I walk into a shop with no shirt or shoes, don’t they have the right to tell me to leave? ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence commented on this very idea:

“Christians in the marketplace should not be subject to predatory legal attacks for simply abiding by their beliefs. The Constitution prohibits the state from forcing unwilling artists to promote a message they disagree with and thereby violate their conscience. Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy? American small business owners do not surrender their constitutional rights at the marketplace gate, nor can the government make people choose between their faith and their livelihood. The commission’s decision demonstrated striking disregard for our client’s rights as protected by the First Amendment. We will appeal the trial court’s decision to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.”

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About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.