Happy Veterans Day: AFLC Salutes the Brave Men and Women Who Have Served Our Blessed Nation with Honor and Courage
“To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.” – Unknown
Today, the American Freedom Law Center would like to honor all the courageous men and women who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. Through their sacrifices, America remains the beacon of liberty and freedom across the world. We would also like to honor those heroes who sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom — may God grant peace to their souls and to their loved ones. Please thank a veteran today for his or her service and enduring commitment to America’s promise of liberty for all who are blessed to live within her shores.
Click here to read the history of Veterans Day at the United States Department of Veteran Affairs website.
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“These Are the Times that Try Men’s Souls”
Yesterday was a disappointment to all freedom-loving Americans as our Nation reelected the most radical secular progressive ever to occupy the White House. And while some may despair over this outcome, we believe that this will be our finest hour. To that end, we can assure you that the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) is committed more than ever to protecting our Judeo-Christian values enshrined in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
As Ronald Reagan reminded us, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
And, the opposite is also true. Freedom taken, as it has been piece-by-piece over the past four years, is never more than one generation away from freedom reclaimed! We will not allow our freedoms to be taken bit-by-bit or to be rendered extinct during our generation. . . . not on our watch!
As Thomas Paine observed during another battle for America’s freedom many generations ago, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Yet, we must never lose hope. And AFLC solemnly pledges to you that we will not lose hope, for there is much to fight for. As we are reminded in Isaiah 40:31, our scriptural inspiration, “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar as with eagles’ wings.”
May God continue to bless America.
AFLC Month in Review: October 2012
Dear Fellow American:
As our Nation awaits this upcoming presidential election, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) is hard at work fighting for your faith and freedom in courtrooms across America. Indeed, while elections are certainly important, we must never forget that secular progressives and other enemies to our Constitution and Judeo-Christian values often use the courts to promote their anti-American agenda. That is why AFLC’s mission is critical, regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election.
To that end, AFLC is pleased to report to you each month our significant accomplishments and case updates. As always, AFLC’s mission is made possible only by your generous support (please consider making a tax-deductible gift to AFLC today). Here are the highlights for the month of October:
- On October 22, AFLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a prominent Christian pastor in Michigan, challenging a provision of Michigan’s election law that prohibits religious leaders from “influencing a voter at an election” by advising the voter “under pain of religious disapproval.” Anyone who violates this criminal law is subject to a fine or imprisonment. On October 30, Robert Muise presented oral argument in federal court in support of AFLC’s request for a temporary restraining order, which, if granted, would have halted the enforcement of the provision. However, the federal district court judge dismissed the case on “standing” grounds. As a result, AFLC immediately appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and filed a 32-page, emergency motion for an injunction prior to Election Day. Read more about this case here.
- On October 31, AFLC filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to review an appellate court decision which held that several Michigan pastors and a family values advocate lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the federal “Hate Crimes” law, which criminalizes so-called “bias” crimes motivated by a person’s “actual or perceived” “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” Violators of the Act are subject to ten years in prison. Read more about this case here.
- On October 20, Robert had the honor of giving a speech at the Metro Detroit Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in Dearborn, Michigan, which was sponsored by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. The topic of his speech was religious freedom and the First Amendment. You can watch the speech on YouTube here.
- On October 19, AFLC filed a request for an injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to halt the HHS contraception mandate. The injunction request is part of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s unlawful mandate. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Priests for Life, a national, Catholic, pro-life organization. Read more about this case here.
- On October 18, AFLC filed a motion in federal court, requesting an injunction to permit the display of our client’s nativity scene in light of a recent ruling from the Sixth Circuit, which held in our favor. For over 60 years, John Satawa and his family had displayed a nativity scene during the Christmas season on a public median in Warren, Michigan. After the local Road Commission received a threatening letter from an atheist organization, it ordered Satawa to remove the display. The Sixth Circuit held that the Road Commission violated Satawa’s constitutional rights. We are now fighting to have the nativity display restored for this Christmas season. Read more about this case here.
- On October 10, AFLC filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to review an appellate court decision which held that a federal taxpayer lacked “standing” to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s use of taxpayer funds to support sharia. In 2009, we filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the U.S. government’s takeover and financial bailout of AIG violated the Establishment Clause because taxpayer dollars were directly funding AIG’s sharia-based businesses. Read more about this case here.
- On October 5, a federal judge for the District of Columbia granted AFLC’s request for an injunction to halt the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) censorship of a pro-Israel/anti-jihad bus advertisement. The planned advertisement states, “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” WMATA had originally refused to run the ad, citing fear of Muslim violence in light of current “world events.” Read more about AFLC’s victory here.
As President Reagan once said, “Above all, we must realize that no arsenal is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”
May God bless America, and may His Providence guide this upcoming election.
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Tagged American, Christian, conservative, Freedom, GOP, Judeo-Christian, Law, Obama, Presidential Election, Religious freedom, Republican, Romney, Tea Party
Elections Have Consequences
“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise . . .” United States Supreme Court 1892, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States
As November 6 draws near, AFLC strongly urges people of faith to vote in acknowledgment of America’s Judeo-Christian principles as well as the critical need to preserve and uphold them. Equally importantly, though, voters must understand that religious freedom is at the forefront of this upcoming election. Indeed, it is no secret that the current administration has declared war on the First Amendment. Furthermore, President Obama has shredded the Constitution in an effort to build a new society based upon secular progressivism that is hostile to our Judeo-Christian values.
Nowhere is this more evident than the HHS contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide insurance plans that include coverage for contraception, sterilization, abortifacients, and related education and counseling or incur substantial penalty fines. This mandate directly conflicts with the deeply-held religious beliefs of religious organizations across the country, including our clients, Priests for Life.
The attack upon religious freedom and morality must be stopped. Consequently, religious leaders have a crucial role in informing members of their congregations to vote for Biblical principles on critical social issues. Yet there exist harsh laws that prevent priests and pastors — under pain of criminal punishment — from advising their congregation on how to vote consistent with God’s Word. For example, the State of Michgan has a criminal statute that prohibits religious leaders from “influencing a voter at an election” by advising the voter “under pain of religious disapproval.” Indeed, any priest or pastor who violates this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine or imprisonment.
AFLC is fighting back against this blatantly unconstitutional law. Earlier this week, we filed a federal lawsuit challenging this criminal statute on behalf of Dr. Levon Yuille, a prominent Christian pastor based in Ypsilanti, Michigan. And next week, AFLC Senior Counsel Robert Muise will be arguing at a hearing in federal court that the judge should enjoin the enforcement of this law before Election Day. Thus, AFLC is fighting to make sure that Pastor Yuille can openly advise his congregation to vote consistent with Biblical principles on Election Day — without the threat of criminal prosecution.
It is clear that there are two paths for America’s future: one relies upon the blessing of Providence to preserve and protect this great nation for future generations; the other is to cast down the Judeo-Christian principles, which have formed the foundation of the most peaceful and prosperous nation in world history. For this reason, AFLC urges all people of faith to gravely acknowledge one simple truth: elections have consequences.
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Tagged American, Christian, constitution, Elections, Freedom, HHS, Law, Michigan, Mitt Romney, Obama, Priests for Life, Religious freedom
AFLC Asks Federal Court to Order Display of Nativity Scene
Following AFLC’s clear victory this past August in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Satawa v. Macomb County Road Commission [read decision here], the Road Commission has been delaying the approval of Mr. Satawa’s permit application to display his nativity scene during this upcoming Christmas season. Consequently, AFLC filed a motion for an injunction yesterday, asking the court to “immediately enjoin Defendants’ unconstitutional restriction on Plaintiff’s speech, thereby ordering Defendants to display Plaintiff’s nativity scene on the Mound Road median in Warren, Michigan during the 2012 Christmas season (November 29, 2012 to January 9, 2013).” [Read motion here].
For more than 60 years, Mr. Satawa and his family displayed a nativity scene on a public median in Warren, Michigan during the Christmas season without incident. That holiday tradition abruptly ended in 2008 when the Freedom from Religion Foundation convinced the Road Commission to halt the display. After a lengthy court battle, which AFLC won this past August, the Road Commission continues to delay the approval of Mr. Satawa’s permit, thereby continuing to violate his constitutional rights and forcing AFLC to file this motion.
AFLC Free Speech Victory: Anti-Jihad Signs Displayed in D.C. Metro
While Obama condemned free speech in the wake of Muslim violence overseas allegedly committed in response to an anti-Islam video, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) is defending that precious American freedom here in the United States. When the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) sought to censor a pro-Israel/anti-jihad advertisement due to these same “world events,” AFLC sued in federal court and won. Last Friday, a D.C. federal judge granted AFLC’s request for an immediate injunction and ordered the WMATA to display the advertisements. And yesterday, per the court’s order, the advertisements went up. Indeed, as the advertisement suggests, jihad and savagery were defeated and civility and freedom prevailed.
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Efforts to Impose Sharia Seek to Undermine U.S. Constitution
Critics of the American Laws for American Courts legislation (ALAC), which was drafted by AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi, often claim that no Muslim American wants to introduce sharia into the United States. Although this claim has proven to be false (indeed, a June 2011 study by the Center for Security Policy found over 50 significant cases from just a small sample of published cases indicating that sharia law has entered into state court decisions), there are many prominent sharia-adherent Muslim groups that claim that the ALAC legislation — which is an effort to insulate state courts from the growing tendency to embrace constitutionally offensive foreign laws, including sharia – is a threat to constitutional rights. Examples include here and here.
Yet, in spite of these spurious calls for First Amendment protection against ALAC, Muslim world leaders gathered at the United Nations last Friday to slam U.S. free speech rights in light of the ongoing Muslim violence in the Middle East. Their solution: the imposition of sharia law in the United States. For example, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu addressed the U.N. General Assembly and urged the U.S. to abolish First Amendment protection for speech critical of Islam. Indeed, Davutoglu said criticism of Islam “can no longer be tolerated under the guise of freedom of expression.” In addition, Egypt’s newly elected Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Mursi, argued for speech restrictions last Wednesday. And Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, told reporters, ”This incident [Muslim rioting supposedly in protest of a U.S.-made anti-Islam film] demonstrates the serious consequences of abusing the principle of freedom of expression. . . .”
The growing calls by Muslim world leaders for sharia-mandated speech restrictions comes on the heels of a “lawfare” fatwa issued by the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a prestigious group of imams. The imams implored Muslims in America to “immediately start legal action to prosecute those who offend Islam.”
Returning to ALAC, it is important to note that the imposition of sharia law does have a pernicious effect on American constitutional rights. For example, there is the case of Hosain v. Malik, in which the Maryland appellate court used the authority of state law to impose sharia on a woman and deprive her of her rights to due process and the equal protection of the law.
What’s perhaps worse is that these foreign enemies to our Constitution have accomplices here in the United States in the form of leftists and government agencies willing to silence speech so as not to offend Islam. Indeed, AFLC’s recent cases defending anti-jihad expression is a testament to how far government agencies (i.e., New York’s MTA and Washington D.C.’s Metro) will go to stifle free speech out of fear of Islamist retaliation. Meanwhile, the media is swift to join CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamist organizations in demonizing anti-sharia speech here in the U.S.
Indeed, if President Obama and the Left were to obey Muslim leaders’ calls for sharia-mandated speech restrictions, we can imagine that such legislation would be labeled the “Imprison Speakers Laughing At Mohammed (ISLAM) Act.”
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AFLC Month in Review: September 2012
The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) is pleased to report each month the progress of its legal battles to defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral foundation. As you know, this past month our fundamental right to freedom of speech was thrust into the national spotlight, stirring up a national debate over the First Amendment. Indeed, we watched in horror as violent Muslims stormed our embassy in Libya, killed four Americans, including our ambassador, and burned the American Flag, while the Obama administration blamed it on a YouTube video that was critical of Islam. And rather than defend one of our most precious freedoms, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized for the video.
Unfortunately, we are clearly seeing the ill effects of Obama’s policy of appeasement toward Muslim violence in the erosion of our fundamental freedoms here in the United States. Indeed, as one can see from the lawsuits AFLC filed just this month, government agencies are now taking an unprecedented, radical, and exceedingly troubling position: that a private citizen’s fundamental First Amendment right to freedom of speech in the United States can and should be abridged because Muslim protestors are engaging in violent behavior in response to the speech. In First Amendment terms, this is known as a “hecklers’ veto,” which up until now, has been unconstitutional.
But make no mistake: AFLC is leading the battle to defend America from this and many other threats to our precious freedoms.
Here are some of AFLC’s significant legal accomplishments for the month of September:
- The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) began running – by order of a federal judge – our clients’ pro-Israel/anti-jihad advertisements that criticize savage acts committed by jihadists against Israel. This ruling came as a result AFLC’s court victory, and has made national and international headlines. The advertisements are exceedingly timely in light of the recent protests, riots, murder, and mayhem perpetrated by Muslims overseas in response to speech they deem critical of Islam. Our case was covered by numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, BBC, and Fox News. You can read more about AFLC’s legal victory here.
- On September 20th, AFLC filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI) and its executive directors, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) decided to “postpone” the running of FDI’s pro-Israel/anti-jihad advertisement until some unknown “future date.” The WMATA cited concerns about “the situations happening around the world” and “world events”—referring to the Muslim violence in the Middle East. AFLC’s lawsuit challenges the WMATA’s unconstitutional censorship of FDI’s speech and has requested that the federal judge issue an order immediately halting the speech restriction. A hearing will be held this Thursday, October 4th, in federal court in Washington, D.C. AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise will be arguing the case on behalf of our clients. You can read more about this case here.
- On September 25th, AFLC filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of several Christian evangelists who were violently attacked by a Muslim mob at the Arab International Festival held this past June in Dearborn, Michigan. The attack was captured on video, which has gone viral on YouTube. AFLC’s lawsuit alleges that the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office violated the Christians’ rights by siding with the Muslim mob that was intent on suppressing the Christians’ speech. Rather than defend the constitutional rights of the Christians, the Wayne County deputies threatened the Christians with arrest for “disorderly conduct” if they didn’t leave the festival. You can watch the video of the Christians stoned by Muslims here. You can read more about AFLC’s lawsuit here.
- During this month, Senior Counsel Robert Muise filed numerous briefs in a federal court in Oklahoma on behalf of Tulsa Police Captain Paul Fields, who was summarily punished for objecting to attending an Islamic proselytizing event that was held at a local mosque. AFLC is asking the court to rule in our favor as a matter of law. A hearing on the motion is scheduled in Tulsa for November. You can read more about this case here.
- On September 28th, Senior Counsel Robert Muise defended the deposition of Nabeel Qureshi, one of AFLC’s clients and a plaintiff in the Acts 17 v. City of Dearborn case. Nabeel is one of the four Christian missionaries who were unlawfully arrested and jailed for peacefully preaching to Muslims during an Arab festival held in Dearborn, Michigan. You can read more about that case here.
- On September 11th, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi gave a speech at the International Freedom Defense Congress held at the United Nations Plaza in New York City. The topic of the speech is how sharia threatens our liberty here in America. You can watch the speech on YouTube here.
- On September 6th, Senior Counsel Robert Muise gave a speech to the Florida International University College of Law’s student chapter of The Federalist Society. He was invited to discuss AFLC’s cases and to discuss Obamacare and its effect on our freedoms.
- This month, David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise wrote a professional essay criticizing Chief Justice Roberts’ decision in Obamacare. The essay was accepted for publication in the prestigious Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law published by Duke University Press.
- This month, Senior Counsel Robert Muise was the keynote speaker at the well-attended “Town Hall Meeting and Legislative Breakfast” hosted by Right to Life-Life Span in Michigan. He discussed AFLC’s litigation efforts and the impact of recent court decisions on right to life issues.
- And the list goes on . . . .
As you can see from just AFLC’s most recent cases, our fundamental freedoms are under attack like never before. However, Benjamin Franklin once said that “energy and persistence conquer all things.” You can be assured that AFLC has the “energy and persistence” to defend our precious freedoms, and we are doing so every day.
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Tagged Acts 17, Barack Obama, Beghazi, Islam, Israel, jihad, Libya, MTA, Nabeel Qureshi, New York, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, September, sharia, Tulsa, Washington D.C.
“Wellspring of Manufactured Hate”: Report Highlights Southern Poverty Law Center as Threat to Free Speech
It is well-known that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — fast becoming America’s premier leftwing smear group — is a darling of the mainstream media. Whenever the media seek to undermine a conservative group or person, they trot out a quote from the SPLC labeling the respective group or individual a “hate group,” as if their assessments are unbiased and accurate.
Moreover, the SPLC is not fond of the American Freedom Law Center; indeed, their website has a profile of AFLC Co-Founder & Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi which labels him as one of “30 New Activists Heading up the Radical Right.” And we’ve noted before that the SPLC partnered with the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Center for American Progress in a teleconference last month aimed at addressing “Islamophobia” in the U.S., which highlighted several leaders connected to AFLC, including Yerushalmi, AFLC Advisory Board Member Frank Gaffney and clients, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.
Although the SPLC enjoys credibility among the liberal media, it has recently faced increasing scrutiny over its brazen attacks on free speech as well as its ties to radical Leftists. Indeed, the Capital Research Center, a top guide to philanthropy, has recently released a comprehensive report which points out that the SPLC has “become more of a threat to free speech and civil debate than a defender of the weak or a foe of violent extremism.” The report also notes that the SPLC is primarily a fundraising vehicle that uses the themes of “tolerance” and “anti-hate” to raise money for its already significant coffers.
You can read the report in full here.
Muslim in New York Responds to “Lawfare” Fatwa Issued by Imams, Targets AFLC’s Pro-Israel/Anti-Jihad Legal Victory
AFLC’s recent legal victory in New York, which resulted in a federal court judge ordering the display of pro-Israel/anti-jihad bus advertisements in New York City after the the City’s transit authority had initially banned them, has received significant attention from national and international media, especially in light of the ongoing Muslim violence in the Middle East. Not surprising, the ruling has also drawn sharp criticsim from U.S.-based sharia-adherent Islamist organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
As AFLC has already noted, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a prestigious group of imams, issued a fatwa last week commanding Muslims in America to “immediately start legal action to prosecute those who offend Islam.” Today, a self-described Muslim from New York sent a letter to Federal Judge Paul Engelmayer, who ruled in AFLC’s favor on the pro-Israel/anti-jihad bus advertisement, protesting the court’s ruling. The letter also requests that Judge Engelmayer recuse himself for his biased interpretation of the word “jihad.”
You can read the letter protesting AFLC’s legal victory here.