Friday, October 31, 2014

Government Inspectors Teach Jewish Girls About Same Sex "Marriage" In Orthodox Girls Schools In The UK


Ofsted denies ‘bullying and traumatising’ Jewish kids
October 14, 2014
"Yesodeh Hatorah Girls’ School in Stamford Hill paid tribute to the "sensitivity" of the visiting Ofsted inspectors."

An association of Orthodox schools has said Ofsted inspectors left young girls “traumatised” after asking them if they had a boyfriend, how babies are made and whether they knew that two men could "marry".

The National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools (NAJOS) said it was “appalled” at reports that inspectors also “quizzed the girls on their views about Facebook and queried how they managed without a Smartphone”.

A NAJOS spokesman said three schools had received surprise inspections in recent weeks, including a school in Manchester, where most of the complaints are believed to have originated.

It expressed “grave concerns” after other headteachers reported that girls “felt bullied into answering inspectors’ questions” and the pupils and staff were left feeling “traumatised and ashamed”.

In a statement the association said: “Ofsted inspectors have been asking pupils inappropriate and challenging questions, many of which fall outside the religious ethos and principles at orthodox Jewish faith schools.”

One Orthodox girl in Year 9 reported feeling “uncomfortable and upset” after inspectors started telling them that a “woman might choose to live with another woman and a man could choose to live with a man, it’s up to them”.

Another girl from Year 11 said: “They made us feel threatened about our religion. They asked ‘Do you have friends from other religions?’ They asked this many times until we answered what they wanted us to say. We felt very bullied.”
"Educators say Ofsted asked pupils inappropriate and challenging questions"

NAJOS said that during another recent inspection, 9-year old girls in an Orthodox Jewish primary school were asked whether they know how babies are made and whether they know any gays.

Jonathan Rabson, director of NAJOS, added: “This confrontational approach by inspectors is a worrying trend never been seen before in the UK Jewish community. We fear it suggests a shift in policy towards faith schools.”

It follows a growing suspicion that faith schools are being targeted after news broke this summer of Operation Trojan Horse, an organised attempt by Islamists to covertly co-opt schools in England.

In a letter to both Ofsted and Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, educators argued that Jewish schools were being “disproportionally targeted” and that “Jewish values and ethos are being questioned by inspectors in a climate of hostility designed to unsettle the pupils at member schools”.

However Ofsted denied that Jewish schools were being singled out. It has undertaken over 4,000 inspections across the country this year, it said. Of these only ten were in maintained Jewish schools, only two of which were unannounced. It also inspected 184 independent schools, of which 12 were Jewish, and three of these were surprise visits.

However, concerns about the cultural sensitivity of inspectors were not limited to the Orthodox community.

Rabbi David Meyer, the incoming director of educational oversight body Partnership for Jewish Schools (PaJeS), said: “We are seeing a worrying trend of Ofsted inspectors showing a lack of respect for the values and traditions of our community.”

The current Hasmonean head added: “Multiculturalism isn’t about conforming to one standard, but celebrating differences of perspectives, and so long as they are founded on "tolerance" and mutual "respect", should be valued and protected.

“Rather than promoting the values, our schools are feeling that our ethos is being undermined and we are being treated in a very harsh fashion.”

However Ofsted’s Chief Operating Officer HMI Matthew Coffey hit back at the charge of inappropriate questioning, saying: “Inspectors must ask questions which probe the extent to which pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education, or employment, or for life in modern Britain.”

He added: “I am sorry if these questions seemed insensitive or offensive. Inspectors use "age-appropriate" Their definition questions to test children’s understanding and tolerance of lifestyles different to their own.”

“Ofsted is not looking for answers to questions which are contrary to their faith, simply that they are able to express views which are neither intolerant nor discriminatory towards others. This is vital if we are to make sure young people are ready for life in modern Britain.”

Criticism of Ofsted was not universal. Yesodeh Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Stamford Hill, which was downgraded in a recent unannounced inspection, paid tribute to the "sensitivity" this is hopefully in hope that they wouldn't come back of the visiting Ofsted inspectors.

Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, principal of Yesodey Hatorah, said: “They were very "professional" and very sensitive to the school’s ethos. There were no incidents of improper questioning. Throughout, we were treated with the greatest respect.”
(jewishnews) highlights my additions

Jewish schools complain over ‘hostile’ Ofsted inspections

Group claims Jewish schools disproportionately targeted and that inspectors asked pupils inappropriate questions

A group representing Orthodox Jewish schools has said Ofsted created a “climate of hostility” during visits by inspectors, with pupils interrogated about sex, relationships and homosexual lifestyle during snap inspections carried out recently.
The National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools (Najos) has written to the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, and Ofsted in protest at the questioning. Ofsted said its staff were following national guidelines, some of which were introduced in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal involving Islamic influence in schools in Birmingham.
The Najos letter complains that Jewish schools are being disproportionately targeted by Ofsted for inspections, and that “Jewish values and ethos are being questioned by inspectors in a climate of hostility” designed to unsettle pupils.
“The targeting of Jewish schools is unacceptable and we feel this suggests another agenda which is extremely worrying, particularly in the current climate where anti-Semitism is on the rise and our community is placed under attack,” the letter by Jonathan Rabson, executive director of Najos, stated.
An Ofsted spokesman said: “We have written to Najos to respond to their concerns and to assure them that Ofsted has not been disproportionately targeting Jewish schools for unannounced inspections. Nor are we questioning Jewish values and ethos. Inspectors must, however, ask questions that probe the extent to which pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education or for employment and for life in modern Britain. Inspectors are asked to use "age-appropriate" questions to test children’s understanding and tolerance of lifestyles read homosexuality that may be different to their own.”
Last month Ofsted carried out no-notice inspections at three Orthodox Jewish schools, including Beis Yaakov high school, a girls secondary school in Salford .  Pupils were said by staff to have been questioned about their use of the internet and their views on homosexuality.
Yaakov pupils are required to sign a pledge that they will not use the internet outside of school, and the school has suspended pupils for sending emails.
During a recent inspection, nine-year olds at an Orthodox Jewish primary school were asked whether they knew how babies were made and whether they knew any homosexualsJewish News reported.
“The girls felt bullied into answering their questions and the pupils and staff were left feeling traumatised,” said Rabson, who is seeking a meeting with Ofsted leadership to address the concerns.
The Jewish education community was already unhappy about Ofsted’s decision last month to downgrade JFS in London – the largest Jewish school in Europe – from outstanding to “requires improvement”, Ofsted’s second-lowest grade.
After another no-notice inspections, Yesodey Hatorah senior girls school, which takes pupils from the ultra-Orthodox community of north London, saw its rating fall from outstanding to good.
The experience of the Jewish schools mirrors that of a conservative Muslim primary school in Luton this year, where angry parents confronted inspectors over their questioning of children regarding gay "marriage".
The use of snap inspections came in the wake of the Trojan Horse affair, alleging Islamic involvement in state schools in Birmingham, along with a government requirement for inspectors to judge attitudes to discrimination and exposure to British values as opposed to Jewish values.
A Catholic secondary school in Suffolk fell foul of the new regulations this month. Ofsted downgraded St Benedict’s in Bury St Edmunds after inspectors queried how it taught “the dangers of extremism and radicalisation”. The inspection report was later withdrawn by Ofsted.
(theguardian) highlights my additions

Jewish schools in UK complain about inspectors

Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools says pupils questioned about sex during unannounced visits; other Jewish educators sound note of caution.
Tali Farkash
The National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools (NAJOS) in Great Britain has filed an unusual complaint with the authorities, claiming that pupils have been interrogated about sex by inspectors from Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools in England.
In an angry letter sent last week to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Ofsted, NAJOS complained that Jewish schools are being disproportionately targeted for inspections, the Guardian reports.
In addition to the inappropriate questions allegedly directed at female students, Ofsted carried out no-notice inspections at three Orthodox Jewish schools.

"The targeting of Jewish schools is unacceptable and we feel this suggests another agenda which is extremely worrying, particularly in the current climate where anti-Semitism is on the rise and our community is placed under attack,” NAJOS Executive Director Jonathan Rabson stated in the letter.

An Ofsted official confirmed that the inspections had taken place and that the pupils had been asked questions, but denied that there was any anti-Semitic motive involved.

"We are very concerned about the recent spate of unannounced inspections of Jewish schools, which are way out of proportion with no-notice inspections in other faith communities," Rabson told the Jewish Chronicle.

"A disproportionate 30 per cent of Jewish secondary schools have been inspected in this way, which is significantly more than the 'feasibility trial' announced by the Department for Education."

Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag, chairman of NAJOS, added: "Not only does Ofsted appear to be targeting Jewish schools, but in some cases inspectors are coming into our Orthodox schools with a confrontational agenda, asking pupils questions that are culturally inappropriate."

'Students and staff traumatized and ashamed'

According to the reports, Ofsted carried out no-notice inspections at three Orthodox Jewish schools last month, including Beis Yaakov high school, a girls secondary school in Salford, Manchester. Pupils were said by staff to have been questioned about their use of the internet and their views on homosexuality.

Jewish News reported that during one inspection, nine-year old girls in an Orthodox Jewish primary school were asked whether they know how babies are made and whether they know any homosexuals.

NAJOS expressed "grave concerns" following reports from school administrators that Jewish girls "felt bullied into answering inspectors' questions" and that students and staff have been feeling "traumatized and ashamed."

Jeremy Dunford, head of Leeds Jewish Free School, said that Ofsted's policy "implies distrust of the profession and highlights the weakness of the inspection process.

"There seems to have been a turnaround: where faith schools were being promoted, it now feels like they're being targeted. If you target certain types of schools, then you're perpetuating stereotypes."

He added: "Turning up at the door won't solve anything. All it may do is scare people, and lead them to say the wrong thing. There should be professional dialogue, not a punitive stick."

The Guardian reports that the Jewish education community was already unhappy about Ofsted's decision last month to downgrade JFS in London – the largest Jewish school in Europe – from outstanding to "requires improvement," Ofsted’s second-lowest grade.

After another no-notice inspection, Yesodey Hatorah senior girls school, which takes pupils from the ultra-Orthodox community of north London, saw its rating fall from outstanding to good.

The NAJOS letter accused Ofsted of creating a "climate of hostility" during visits by inspectors. Ofsted said its staff were following national guidelines, some of which were introduced in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal involving Islamic influence in schools in Birmingham.

'Inspectors are not questioning Jewish values'

Despite NAJOS' official stand, some headteachers appeared unconcerned by the current wave of inspections. Robert Leach, head of Sinai Jewish Primary School in Kenton, said he also felt scrutiny, but added: "If you have nothing to hide, then there is nothing to be concerned about. does that mean that we should allow that which the Torah condems

"There is no reason to panic. We are operating as a government-maintained school and we adhere to all the Department for Education's policies. If they turn up at our door early, it won't make much difference."

Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the education agency Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS) warned that it was "too simplistic to immediately jump to the conclusion of unfair targeting.

"It is best to monitor the situation and review it," he said. "You cannot just isolate incidents of Jewish schools being inspected. You have to see it as a small fraction of a bigger picture.

"We must recognize the importance of the objectivity of Ofsted, which is in everybody's interest: Schools, parents and children."

Rabson's letter did not remain unanswered. According to an Ofsted spokesman, "We have written to NAJOS to respond to their concerns and to assure them that Ofsted has not been disproportionately targeting Jewish schools for unannounced inspections. Nor are we questioning Jewish values and ethos.

"Inspectors must, however, ask questions that probe the extent to which pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education or for employment and for life in modern Britain. Inspectors are asked to use "age-appropriate" questions to test children’s understanding and "tolerance" of lifestyles that may be different to their own." in short if you don't accept same sex "marriage" you fail

The Guardian notes that similar questions regarding gay "marriage" directed this year at young pupils in a conservative Muslim primary school in Luton led angry parents to confront inspectors.

According to the Guardian, the use of snap inspections came in the wake of the Trojan Horse affair, alleging Islamic involvement in state schools in Birmingham, along with a government requirement for inspectors to judge attitudes to discrimination and exposure to British values.


Christian school 'downgraded for failing to invite an imam to lead assembly'

Christian group warns ‘British values’ rules imposed after Trojan Horse scandal leading to schools with a religious ethos being marked down by inspectors for failing to promote ‘tolerance’

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor

10:00PM BST 19 Oct 2014

A successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies, it is claimed.

The small independent school in the Home Counties was told it is in breach of new rules intended to promote “British values” such as individual liberty and tolerance in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, involving infiltration by hard-line Muslim groups in Birmingham.

Details of the case are disclosed in a letter to the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, from the Christian Institute, which is providing legal support to the school.

The group warned that the new rules intended to combat extremism are already having “disturbing consequences” for religious schools and forcing Ofsted inspectors to act in a way which undermines their ethos.

It follows complaints from orthodox Jewish schools about recent inspections in which girls from strict traditional backgrounds were allegedly asked whether they were being taught enough about lesbianism, whether they had boyfriends and if they knew where babies came from.
In the latest case inspectors are understood to have warned the head that the school, which was previously rated as “good” that it would be downgraded to "adequate" for failing to meet standards requiring it to “actively promote” harmony between different faiths because it had failed to bring in representatives from other religions.

They warned that unless the school could demonstrate how it was going to meet the new requirements there would be a further full inspection which could ultimately lead to it being closed.

A Government consultation paper published in June, explaining the new rules, makes clear that even taking children on trips to different places of worship would not be enough to be judged compliant.  do you want your kids to go to a Yeshiva to learn another religion?

The Institute, which is already planning a legal challenge to the consultation, arguing that it was rushed through during the school holidays, fears that the new guidelines could be used to clamp down on the teaching of anything deemed politically incorrect on issues such as same sex "marriage".

“Worryingly, evidence is already emerging of how the new regulations are requiring Ofsted inspection teams to behave in ways which do not respect the religious ethos of faith schools,” Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, told Mrs Morgan.

“The new requirements are infringing the rights of children, parents, teachers and schools to hold and practise their religious beliefs.”

Listing recent cases involving criticism of Anglican, Roman Catholic and Jewish schools by Ofsted, he added: “The Christian Institute is currently working with an independent Christian School which has been marked down by Ofsted for not promoting other faiths.

“Astonishingly it was told it should invite representatives of other faith groups to lead assemblies and lessons, such as an Imam.

“The wording of the regulations inevitably results in these kind of outcomes.

“While we obviously support attempts to address the problem of radicalisation, the current regulations fail to do this.”

A spokeswoman for Ofsted said: “Under Ofsted’s revised guidance for the inspection of schools, inspectors now pay greater attention to ensuring that schools provide a broad and balanced education for their pupils, so that young people are well prepared for the next stage in their education, or for employment and for life in modern Britain.

“Inspectors will consider the effectiveness of the school’s provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and how the school’s leadership and management ensure that the curriculum actively promotes British values.

“This includes, among other factors, pupils’ acceptance and engagement of different faiths and beliefs, and their understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield.”
(Telegraph) highlights my additions


Thursday, October 30, 2014

At Least 6 People Forced To Resign Due To North Carolina's Allowing Same Sex "Marriage"

NC magistrates resign over gay "marriage" rulings

When a federal judge cleared the legal path for same-sex "marriage" in North Carolina earlier this month, it set off a flurry of "weddings" and "celebrations", mostly in urban areas of the state.
But the joy was hardly unanimous, including among some public officials whose jobs include performing marriages.

At least six magistrates have quit or announced their resignations since same-sex "marriages" became legal Oct. 10, the Observer found.

Some left 20-year jobs that paid more than $50,000. Their decisions, they said, were based on religious beliefs.

“When you have convictions about something, you’ve drawn your line in the sand,” said Gayle Myrick, 64, a former Union County magistrate. “It ("marrying" gay couples) was not a consideration to me at any cost.”

Myrick joined magistrates in Gaston, Swain, Graham, Jackson and Rockingham counties who resigned – or announced plans to quit – because of the change in the marriage law. It’s unclear how many other magistrates have similar intentions.

Opponents of same-sex "marriages" said it’s likely other public officials feel the same but have chosen to keep their jobs for financial reasons.

The debate over a person’s individual rights versus their duties on the job is playing out across the country.

But the issue gets especially "murky" when it involves public officials, said Charles Haynes, director of the nonprofit Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute in Washington, D.C.

“From the beginning of our history as a nation, we have always valued our liberty of conscience and freedom,” he said. “(North Carolina’s situation this also happened in New York, one of the Clerks (Karl Brabenec) who quit is now running for assembly in KJ, and parts of Ramapo Township, please vote for Karl Brabenec if you live there is one of the tougher areas, because when you work for the state, you serve the people.”

some State Republican leaders are challenging the change in the "marriage" law. On Friday, Senate leader Phil Berger and 27 other Republicans asked the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts to grant protections to officials who refuse to participate in gay "marriages" because of religious beliefs.

Supporters of same-sex "marriages" said magistrates should do their job.

“State officials don’t get to pick and choose what laws they need to follow,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “They can’t turn people away just because of who they are and who they "love".”

Decision to leave
Four years after becoming a magistrate in Swain County, Gilbert Breedlove, 57, was ordained as a Baptist minister. He preaches to about 20 worshippers in the mountain county. Breedlove saw the changes coming through the courts.

“There are many who won’t let their personal beliefs interfere with their jobs,” Breedlove said. “In this case, I had no option.”

Breedlove left the magistrate job that paid $52,000 annually, more than the county’s median household income of about $43,400.

With his minister position only part time, Breedlove said it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to make a living off it or by helping to bind and translate Bibles into American Indian languages.

“You either go for the finances or you go for the faith,” he said. “I know the Lord has something for me to do.”

Breedlove said he’s received support from family and friends, though he acknowledged that critical online comments from news articles have been hurtful. 

Like Breedlove, Tommy Holland quit the job he held since the early 1990s. He was a magistrate in Graham County, on the Tennessee line, and also earned about $52,000 a year. He, too, is Baptist.

Holland, 58, said the decision to leave was tough, but simple. The county’s three magistrates received a state memo detailing the law change and reminding them that it’s their "duty" to perform "marriage" ceremonies no matter the sexual orientation of the couple.

“When you’re a magistrate, you take the oath to uphold the law of North Carolina,” he said. “It’s up to you to honor it. I just couldn’t.”

Jackson County magistrate Jeff Powell and Gaston County magistrate William Stevenson confirmed they left because of the change but declined to comment.

Magistrates’ duties
Same-sex "marriages" became legal this month when two federal judges ruled North Carolina’s ban on gay "marriages" unconstitutional In a clear judicial legislation from the bench considering that I'm 100% sure not a single person who voted to ratify the constitutional amendments used in the decision would have agreed with their decision . Since then, 188 gay couples have "married" in Mecklenburg County, said David Granberry, register of deeds. No state figures were available.

While registers of deeds issue "marriage" licenses, magistrates perform the ceremonies. Magistrates also issue warrants and set bail. They can accept guilty pleas and payments of fines for minor misdemeanors and traffic violations. Magistrates must hold a four-year college degree or a two-year degree, plus relevant work experience, according to the state. North Carolina employed about 670 magistrates last fiscal year.
Challenging the law
Berger, the Republican senator, said he’ll craft a bill that would protect state officials who refuse – because of religious reasons – to issue "marriage" licenses or marry gay couples.  so far no bill like this was ever sponsored in NY even though we have the same problem, people like Simcha Felder have more "important" issues to deal with like kissing up to Cuomo

He discussed his plans in Rockingham County, where magistrate John Kallam Jr. said he’d rather step down than marry same-sex couples.

“Here, in Rockingham County, forcing Magistrate Kallam to give up his religious liberties to save his job is just wrong,” Berger said.

On Friday, Berger and other state Senate Republicans sent a letter to the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts director, Judge John Smith. They said the courts failed to tell magistrates of religious protections afforded to state employees.

Two magistrates told the Observer that a memo they received from the Administrative Office of the Courts hinted at criminal prosecution if they did not perform gay "marriage" ceremonies.

“Assertions amounting to threats about job loss and criminal prosecution without acknowledgment of recognized and existing workplace protections appear to have misled some supervisors to believe that the law will not tolerate the actions of reasonable men and women,” stated Berger’s letter to Smith.

James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said a law that lets government workers choose who they serve “violates the principles of fair play.
“That’s not religious freedom,” Esseks said. “That’s discrimination.” showing once again that gay rights trump religious rights in the eyes of the left, 1st for private people finally they will push it even on rabbis
A balancing act
Haynes, the director at the Newseum Institute, said he expected push-back in states with newly minted "marriage" laws. In 2012, North Carolina voters passed a state constitutional ban on gay "marriages" by approving Amendment One.

That ban, along with an existing state law limiting marriages to a man and a woman, were overturned after two federal judges said they were illegal under an earlier gay "marriage" ruling by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Haynes said there is a balancing act between society’s interest and the interest of a person’s religious freedom.
highlights my additions
“Nondiscrimination and religious freedom are both core American principles,” nondiscrimination only became a value in recent years religious freedom was always one, as the former has grown into a value the later has been disintegrating he said. “If we can have "marriage" equality and also protect freedom of conscience, then I think that’s really the best way to go forward.”

Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis have hired lawyers to appeal the federal "marriage" ruling. They’re hoping to get another hearing before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court about the legality of the state’s constitutional marriage ban.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said there were no more legal options left and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said all state agencies would comply with the federal decision. showing once again that republicans can't be trusted, if McCroy had any decency or integrity he would ignore the courts Judicial activists decision and use the power of his office to force all magistrates to refuse to comply with the court and uphold the will of the people.
(charlotteobserver)  highlights my additions

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Knesset Commitee Supports Gay Parenting

A landmark bill to permit gay couples as well as single men and women in Israel to obtain surrogacy services overcame a major hurdle Sunday when it was approved by the cabinet, overturning an appeal by Housing Minister Uri Ariel. The legislation is set to be presented for a Knesset vote at a later date, and will likely pass into law.

The proposed legislation would grant the same benefits afforded to heterosexual couples in Israel, and further extend surrogacy rights, allowing married women to serve as surrogate mothers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

City Threatens To Arrest Ministers Who Refuse To Perform Same Sex "Weddings"

From the law suit against the City for forcing
the Knapps to violate their religion
The Hitching Post is one of the most well known chapels in the Inland Northwest. In its 95 years of operation thousands of people have been married in the small chapel. But the owners are willing to walk away if the ban on gay "marriage" is permanently lifted.

City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing read the law suit Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.

“Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”

The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail.”

- Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, Jeremy Tedesco

According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.”

But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local "nondiscrimination" ordinance.

That ordinance, passed last year, prohibits "discrimination" based on sexual orientation, and it applies to housing, employment and public accommodation.

City Attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review in May that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel likely would be required to follow the ordinance.

“I would think that the Hitching Post would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance,” he said.

He also told television station KXLY that any including Jewish ones wedding chapel that turns away a gay couple would in theory be violating the law, “and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.”

Wilson confirmed to Knapp my worst fear -- that even ordained ministers would be required to perform same-sex "weddings".

“Wilson also responded that Mr. Knapp was not exempt from the ordinance because the Hitching Post was a business and not a church,” the lawsuit states.

And if he refused to perform the ceremonies, Wilson reportedly told the minister that he could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.

Now all of that was a moot point because, until last week, gay "marriage" was not legal in Idaho.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order on May 13 allowing same-sex "marriages" to commence in Idaho on Oct. 15. Two days later, the folks at the Hitching Post received a telephone call.

A man had called to inquire about a same-sex "wedding" ceremony. The Hitching Post declined, putting it in violation of the new law.

City officials did not respond to my requests for an interview, nor did they respond to requests from local news outlets.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” Tedesco said.

“The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected, just as the First Amendment intended.”

Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a temporary restraining order to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance.

“The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail,” Tedesco told me.

It’s hard to believe this could happen in the United States. But as the lawsuit states, the Knapps are in a “constant state of fear that they may have to go to jail, pay substantial fines, or both, resulting in them losing the business that God has called them to operate and which they have faithfully operated for 25 years.”

The lawsuit came the same week that the city of Houston issued subpoenas demanding that five Christian pastors turn over sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity.

What in heaven’s name is happening to our country, folks? I was under the assumption that churches and pastors would not be impacted by same-sex marriage.

“The other side insisted this would never happen – that pastors would not have to perform same-sex marriages,” Tedesco told me. “The reality is – it’s already happening.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told me it’s “open season on Americans who refuse to bow to the government’s redefinition of marriage.”

“Americans are witnesses to the reality that redefining marriage is less about the marriage altar and more about fundamentally altering the freedoms of the other 98 percent of Americans,” Perkins said.

Why should evangelical Christian ministers be forced to perform and celebrate any marriage that conflicts with their beliefs?

“This is the brave new world of government-sanctioned same-sex unions – where Americans are forced to celebrate these unions regardless of their religious beliefs,” Perkins told me.

As I write in my new book, “God Less America,” we are living in a day when those who support traditional marriage are coming under fierce attack.

The incidents in Houston and now in Coeur d’Alene are the just the latest examples of a disturbing trend in the culture war – direct attacks on clergy.

“Government officials are making clear they will use their government power to punish those who oppose the advances of homosexual activists,” Perkins said.

I’m afraid Mr. Perkins is absolutely right.

No one should be discriminated against but have you noticed that any time a city passes a “nondiscrimination” ordinance, it’s the Christians and Jews who wind up being discriminated against?

(Fox News) highlights my additions

read this editorial from the daily beast showing how liberals want to force you to violate the Torah

Refusing to Marry Same-Sex Couples Isn’t Religious Freedom, It’s Just Discrimination

A ‘Christian or Jewish’ wedding chapel—a private business—in Idaho is suing for the right not to "marry" gay couples. There is no such right. Yet.

The first thing you need to know is that most “wedding chapels” are not actually chapels. They are private businesses, sometimes run by ordained ministers who are thus licensed to perform marriage ceremonies, but just as often run by Elvis impersonators. Thus, the question of how so called "marriage"-equality laws apply to private wedding chapels is ostensibly a question of under what circumstances the government can lawfully step on a for-profit company’s blue suede shoes.

Ground zero for this debate is now Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. There, the city is apparently requiring the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel to officiate gay weddings. Now, it’s hard to imagine any gay couple wanting to get "married" at the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel. Their website talks about “the difference between men and women because we all know men and women are identical in all ways including anatomically” and says “women respond to love positively because they were created that way” and “men respond to respect because that is the way they are created.”

Yeah. And the private “chapel” reportedly gives its newlyweds a conservative Christian CD with hetero-reinforcing marriage sermons. Then again, given the über-butch Paul Bunyan log-cabin façade, if some gay men mistook the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel for a for a Western bar, that would be understandable.

Anyway, after a court effectively made so called "marriage" equality the law of the land in Idaho a week ago, it appears some misguided gay couple wandered into the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel. The owners, Evelyn and Donald Knapp, apparently declined to marry the couple and instead filed a federal lawsuit to stop the city of Coeur d’Alene from enforcing its non-discrimination law. Yup, Evelyn and Donald Knapp are “ordained Christian ministers” suing for the right to discriminate.

State and federal laws generally exempt only religious institutions from having to perform gay "marriages". Yet the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel is not a church or a synagogue or a mosque but a private business—apparently one in the newly created categorical mold of Hobby Lobby, a “for-profit religious corporation.” If you wondered what the slippery slope of the Hobby Lobby decision might entail, here’s a good look. In the Hobby Lobby ruling, Justice Alito wrote that the decision does not “provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.”  We’ll see about that. The faith-based legal advocacy group defending the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel will undoubtedly lean on Hobby Lobby to make its case.

Either way, it’s worth noting that the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel is at this point being required to officiate same-sex "weddings" not because of any federal or state law, but because of local non-discrimination laws passed in Coeur d’Alene. So much for all those conservatives who want the federal government to butt out and let local jurisdictions rule. I guess that’s only when they agree with the local jurisdictions.  showing the first amendment is irrelevant 

By the same token, conservatives seem to only support government forcing people to do things when it comes to requiring that doctors read out loud misleading information written by abortion opponents to any women patients contemplating terminating a pregnancy like many women regretting this after the fact. That kind of government coercion of speech and action seems a-OK to the conservative liberty crowd like how the liberals did with repairetive therapy or MBP. But forcing a religious person to violate their religion by requiring a private business to provide unequal accommodation to all Americans, including the gay ones? Tyranny! first amendment be darned

Mind you, just as Hobby Lobby initially covered the forms of contraception that it later stopped covering and objected to when filing suit, the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel entirely reincorporated its business just last month with a new business certificate and a new operating agreement that suddenly includes the religious values also asserted in their lawsuit to protect themselves from gay terrorist who want to force them to violate their religion. They now have a new Employee Policy and Customer Agreement saying they will only perform weddings “between one biological male and one biological female.” most likely (like every states original marriage laws) never dreaming years ago that the definition of marriage would need to be clarified

It’s hard to argue that opposing so called "marriage" equality is a central tenet of Christianity when majorities of Christian voters support same-sex "marriage".  just like it's hard for a Jew to claim that Judaism forbids lighting a fire on shabbos when most Jews break shabbos in and do so?

if you suspend the fist amendment Conservatives are already trying to conflate the issues here , saying that Coeur d’Alene is forcing “Christian pastors” to perform same-sex "weddings" or “face jail”—deliberately blurring the line between this for-profit chapel because religion only exist in officially sanctioned environments?  and actual religious institutions and entities so according to liberals anything that is not officially a religious institution can be forced to violate their religion. But regardless, even in the case of florists or cake makers or photographers who want to practice  their religion by "discriminate" against gay couples, their grounds for doing so are thin provided you don't believe in the first amendment. It’s hard not to argue that opposing so called "marriage" equality is a central tenet of Christianity when majorities of Christian voters support same-sex marriage like majority of all Jewish voters don't believe in torah mishamayim, as do an increasing number of denominations like "Reform-Judaism" is a branch of Judaism . In Kansas, where Republicans tried to pass a law legalizing discrimination by private businesses and individuals, the pastor of the state’s largest church took a stand for equal treatment, saying, “Jesus routinely healed, fed, and ministered to people whose personal lifestyle he likely disagreed with.” Reform Temple Emanuel is the largest "synagogue" in NYC do you think your rav should pasken based on them?

Pastor Andy Stanley, head of the second-largest evangelical church in America, said, “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.” In other words, using Christianity to rationalize discrimination against one’s fellow human beings doesn’t seem very, well, Christian.

Jesus also spoke very clearly about the dangers of private profit (“You cannot serve God and money.”), but I don’t see any of these so-called religious businesses rushing to embrace those teachings.

The Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel is a for-profit business, just like the Elvis Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas that also wants to "discriminate" against gay couples in violation of local, state, and federal laws and deeply held principles of fairness and equality on which our country was founded Liberals forget this country was founded on freedom of religion and speech not fairness and equality, fairness and equality the way liberals understand is closer to Marxisim . The image of an Elvis impersonator trying to claim religious exemptions should strike us all as a hunka-hunka burning crap.

These entrepreneurs have chosen to incorporate as private businesses, with all the legal rights and privileges that entails. That means they have to follow the laws that apply to private businesses and suspend their first amendment rights?. Don’t wanna "marry" everyone who are entitled to "marry" legally under the law? Then don’t run a wedding business. After all, the government isn’t forcing you to be in that line of work.

Wedding businesses under liberal rule

(thedailybeast) highlights my additions

Monday, October 20, 2014

Houston Subpoenaed Sermons By Religious Leaders Regarding Homosexuality

Her "excuse" to subpoena sermons

City subpoenas sermons against pastors for speeches on LGBT
By Katherine Driessen

October 14, 2014 | Updated: October 15, 2014 11:11am

Houston's embattled equal rights ordinance took another legal turn this week when it surfaced that city attorneys, in an unusual step, subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose the law and are tied to the conservative Christian activists who have sued the city.

Opponents of the equal rights ordinance are hoping to force a repeal referendum when they get their day in court in January, claiming City Attorney David Feldman wrongly determined they had not gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

City attorneys issued subpoenas last month as part of the case's discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession."

The subpoenas were issued to pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance: Dave Welch, Hernan Castano, Magda Hermida, Khanh Huynh and Steve Riggle. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization known for its role in defending same-sex "marriage" bans, filed a motion Monday on behalf of the pastors seeking to quash the subpoenas, and in a press announcement called it a "witch hunt."

The city's lawyers will face a high bar for proving the information in the sermons is essential to their case, said Charles Rhodes, a South Texas College of Law professor. The pastors are not named parties in the suit, and the "Church Autonomy Doctrine" offers fairly broad protections for internal church deliberations, he said.

Calling it an "unusual but not unprecedented" subpoena request, Rhodes said the city would stand a better chance of getting the sermons if it were a criminal case in which the message or directive in the sermons prompted a specific criminal action.

Still, he said, the city likely will get a boost because many of the sermons are broadcast or recorded and are intended to be shared with the public.

"This is unusual to see it come up in a pure political controversy," Rhodes said. "The city is going to have to prove there is something very particular in the sermons that does not come up anywhere else."

To that end, Feldman said the pastors made their sermons relevant to the case by using the pulpit to do political organizing. That included encouraging congregation members to sign petitions and help gather signatures for equal rights ordinance foes, who largely take issue with the "rights" extended to gay and transgender residents.

Feldman pointed to a training video that surfaced this summer showing Welch, of the Houston Area Pastor Council, explaining the rules signature gatherers needed to follow during a church presentation. With aPowerPoint presentation behind him, Welch tells the audience the city's stringent repeal referendum process "makes it more challenging for us" to qualify for the ballot.

Ordinance supporters said the video proved the signature gatherers were aware of the rules but flouted them anyway.

"If someone is speaking from the pulpit and it's political speech, then it's not going to be protected," Feldman said.  say goodbye to the first ammendment

Plaintiff Jared Woodfill disagreed, saying the subpoenas impinge on protected religious freedoms.

"This is the city trampling on the First Amendment rights of pastors in their churches," said Woodfill, a former chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.

Woodfill and other critics pledged to take the issue to the voters after the City Council approved the ordinance in May, banning discrimination among businesses that serve the public, private employers, in housing and in city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions are exempt. not individuals of course

City Secretary Anna Russell initially counted enough signatures to qualify the opponents' petition, with about 600 more than the required 17,269 signatures. Feldman then looked through all of the petition pages to see if those who gathered signatures met city charter requirements - namely, whether signature gatherers were Houston residents and whether they signed the petition pages.

That process disqualified more than half the 5,199 pages. In their suit, opponents claimed Russell's original count should be the most important one and alleged Feldman had inserted himself into the process illegally.

In August, opponents agreed to drop their request for an emergency temporary injunction, aimed at forcing a referendum this November. The group has filed several appeals in an effort to expedite the case, including a pending appeal at the Texas Supreme Court.

The subpoenas, however, are tied to the January district court date and request more than just sermons. The requests touch on a wide range of communications among the pastors, with their congregations and with city officials about the ordinance, including "any discussion about whether or how HERO does or does not impact restroom access."

Opponents frequently have cited the perceived threat of male sexual predators dressed in drag entering women's restrooms, dubbing the measure the "Sexual Predator Protection Act."

The ordinance protects transgender residents' ability to use the restroom consistent with their gender expression in short if a perverted man says their woman womens bathroom it is, regardless of their biological sex, but puts the onus on the individual to prove he or she was a victim of bias.

The city also is seeking any information about payments and incentives offered to people contracted to circulate the petitions, and the tax information associated with those payments.

The city does not intend to back down from its request and is working on a response to the Alliance Defending Freedom's motion, Feldman said.
(houstonchronicle) highlights my additions

Rabbis remember to make a copy of your shabbos hagadol drashos available for the goverment

Houston city attorneys modify subpoenas that had sought clergy sermons in equal rights lawsuit
Published October 17, 2014

HOUSTON – Houston city attorneys are no longer seeking through subpoenas sermons from five pastors who publicly opposed an ordinance banning discrimination against gay and transgender residents. after a major campaign against Houston including by formal presidential candidate Micheal Huckabee and Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Mayor Annise Parker said Friday that the city was backing off the sermon request but would not withdraw the subpoenas, which seek other information from the pastors as part of a lawsuit over a petition drive to repeal the equal "rights" ordinance.

"They were too broad," Parker said at a news conference. "They were typical attorney language in a discovery motion. They were asking for everything but the kitchen sink." that's not what she said before the pressure (see her tweet at the top of the page)

While the word "sermons" was being deleted from the subpoenas, the revised request for other speeches or presentations was appropriate, Parker said.

"This is not about what anyone is preaching; this is not about their religion; it's not about the free exercise of religion," she said. "It is our right to defend the city and asking legitimate questions about the petition process."

In May, the City Council passed the equal rights ordinance, which consolidates city bans on discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories and increases protections for gay and transgender residents. Parker, who is gay, and other supporters said the measure is about offering protections at the local level against all forms of discrimination in housing, employment and services provided by private businesses such as hotels and restaurants.

Religious institutions are exempt, but city attorneys recently subpoenaed the pastors, seeking all speeches, presentations or sermons related to the repeal petition.

Christian activists had sued after city officials ruled they didn't collect enough signatures to get the question on the ballot. The city secretary initially counted enough signatures, but then city attorney David Feldman ruled that more than half of the pages of the petition were invalid.

Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian religious rights legal organization that filed the motion to quash the subpoenas, said the city "still doesn't get it."

"It thinks that by changing nothing in its subpoenas other than to remove the word 'sermons' that it has solved the problem," Stanley said. "That solves nothing."

Subpoenas still demand 17 different categories of information that encompass speeches made by the pastors and private communications with their church members, he said.

"They must be rescinded entirely," Stanley said, contending the city needs to respect First Amendment religious freedoms.

Feldman said that the subpoenas were routine in the give-and-take between lawyers in a lawsuit and that the now-contentious matter could have been defused in negotiations involving attorneys for both sides.

"They decided to make it a media circus," he said.

The controversy has touched a nerve among religious conservatives around the country, already anxious about the rapid spread of gay "rights" and what it might mean for faith groups that object. Religious groups, including some that support civil "rights" protections for gays, have protested the subpoenas as a violation of religious freedom.

(AP) highlights my additions