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August 9, 2016 Off

Key Supporter Of After-School Religious Clubs Ironically Says Satanic Temple Can Be Barred 

Recently, The Satanic Tem­ple announced that it plans start­ing after school clubs for the com­ing school year and sent let­ters to a num­ber of pub­lic school dis­tricts advis­ing them of its inten­tions.   Under a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court rul­ing, K-12 pub­lic schools must allow these clubs if they allow sec­u­lar com­mu­nity groups to use their facil­i­ties.  But a key sup­porter of the 2001 deci­sion and after-school access for Chris­t­ian “Good News Clubs” erro­neously disagrees.

Wikipedia images

Wikipedia images

In its Good News Clubs v. Mil­ford Cen­tral School deci­sion, the Supreme Court ruled that pub­lic schools must treat reli­gious and sec­u­lar com­mu­nity groups on the same terms and con­di­tions in after-school access to facil­i­ties.  So if a school allows a sec­u­lar group to use its facil­i­ties, it must do the same for reli­gious groups.

Firmly believ­ing that pro­vid­ing after-school access to reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions con­sti­tutes uncon­sti­tu­tional endorse­ment of reli­gion, ADL in 2000 filed a friend-of-the-court brief with  the U.S Supreme Court oppos­ing such access. How­ever, this deci­sion remains the law of the land.  Fif­teen years later, numer­ous Good News Clubs oper­ate in our nation’s pub­lic ele­men­tary and mid­dle schools.

Lib­erty Coun­sel, a self-described Chris­t­ian min­istry “ded­i­cated to advanc­ing reli­gious free­dom, the sanc­tity of life, and the fam­ily,” is an active defender the 2001 deci­sion and legally rep­re­sents Good News Clubs across the coun­try.   But it now erro­neously claims that pub­lic schools can bar The Satanic Tem­ple clubs, which Lib­erty Coun­sel char­ac­ter­izes as “not legit­i­mate,” while per­mit­ting Good News and other reli­gious clubs.   The schools would be wise not to fol­low this advice. They are con­sti­tu­tion­ally barred from determing whether a reli­gion is “legit­i­mate,” and pick­ing and choos­ing among reli­gions.  Rather, they can either allow or deny all com­mu­nity groups both sec­u­lar and religious.

This issue is a clear reminder that reli­gious free­dom in Amer­ica is for all faiths and why the Good News deci­sion remains prob­lem­atic.  The intro­duc­tion of orga­nized reli­gious activ­i­ties in pub­lic schools is reli­giously divi­sive and risks reli­gious coer­cion.  For these rea­sons, ADL believes that con­sti­tu­tion­ally– man­dated sep­a­ra­tion of church and state must be most robust in our nation’s pub­lic schools.  Although this belief may be dis­taste­ful to some, this posi­tion is not one of hos­til­ity towards reli­gion.  Rather, it reflects a pro­found respect for reli­gious free­dom and recog­ni­tion of the extra­or­di­nary diver­sity of faiths and reli­gious beliefs rep­re­sented in our nation’s pub­lic schools.

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August 9, 2016 Off

Oregon Police Save Woman Held Hostage by Armed White Supremacist

A SWAT team with the Glad­stone Police Depart­ment in North­west­ern Ore­gon res­cued a woman being held hostage by a bar­ri­caded white suprema­cist fol­low­ing a shootout with police.jeffreygiddingstattoos

The inci­dent began on August 8, 2016, when Jef­frey Carl Gid­dings, a con­victed felon and career crim­i­nal, fled on a bicy­cle from an offi­cer who was attempt­ing to stop him for a traf­fic violation.

A short time later, Gid­dings allegedly opened fire on a police sergeant who had located him in the park­ing lot of a Sub­way restau­rant.  The sergeant was struck in his bal­lis­tic vest and is report­edly in excel­lent condition.

Gid­dings then took a woman hostage and bar­ri­caded him­self in the Sub­way.  A respond­ing SWAT team tried to nego­ti­ate with Gid­dings, but he made demands and refused to give up.  Fear­ing for the hostage’s safety, the SWAT team shot Gid­dings and saved the woman. Gid­dings suf­fered a non-life threat­en­ing injury and was taken to the hospital.

Gid­dings’ face and body are cov­ered in tat­toos.  Many of them are sym­bols used by white suprema­cists includ­ing the words “Aryan Pride”, a Celtic Cross and “16/23,” a numer­i­cal code for PW or “peck­er­wood.”  Addi­tion­ally, Gid­dings has IPS tat­toos on both his neck and col­lar­bone area which is the acronym for the Insane Peck­er­wood Syn­di­cate, a white suprema­cist prison gang with mem­bers in Ore­gon and Washington.

This is the sec­ond shootout in the United States between police and domes­tic extrem­ists this month, and the ninth so far this year.

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August 8, 2016 9

Israeli Athletes Encounter Hostility At Rio Olympic Games

The Olympic games, cur­rently tak­ing place in Rio, aim to bring together the best ath­letes from around the world in the spirit of pro­mot­ing peace and unity through com­pet­i­tive sports. For Israelis, how­ever, the Olympics will for­ever be tainted by the 1972 Munich games, where 11 Israeli ath­letes were bru­tally mur­dered by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists. These days, anti-Israel vio­lence at the Olympics has been replaced by pol­i­tics, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from coun­tries hos­tile to Israel going to great lengths to avoid any inter­ac­tion with Israeli athletes.

On Fri­day, mem­bers of the Israeli Olympic del­e­ga­tion were phys­i­cally blocked from board­ing an opening-ceremonies bound bus by the head of the Lebanese del­e­ga­tion, appar­ently because he didn’t want his team to ride with Israelis. The Lebanese Min­is­ter of Youth and Sport praised the del­e­ga­tion head, whose actions were lauded in the Lebanese media, say­ing his actions were “prin­ci­pled and patri­otic.” Fol­low­ing the inci­dent, the head of Lebanon’s Olympic Com­mit­tee was rebuked by the Olympic orga­niz­ers.
Israeli Olympic Team

On Sun­day, Saudi Judo fighter Joud Fahmy for­feited her first-round match against Chris­tianne Leg­en­til of Mau­ri­tius in order to avoid fac­ing Israeli Gili Cohen in the next round (who Fahmy would have faced if she had defeated Leg­en­til). The Saudi Olympic team tweeted that Fahmy with­drew because of “injuries” to her arms and legs, but the Israeli press reported that Fahmy was in fact not hurt and dropped out to avoid com­pet­ing against Cohen.

A sim­i­lar inci­dent occurred dur­ing the 2012 Lon­don Olympics, when Iran­ian judo cham­pion Javad Mahjoub, who was sched­uled to face Israeli Arik Ze’evi, with­drew from com­pe­ti­tion, claim­ing health con­cerns. Mahjoub had pre­vi­ously acknowl­edged throw­ing matches to avoid com­pet­ing against Israeli athletes.

In recent years, coun­tries hos­tile to Israel, includ­ing Kuwait and Malaysia, have denied Israeli ath­letes visas to par­tic­i­pate in inter­na­tional sport­ing com­pe­ti­tions. The most infa­mous case was from 2009, when the United Arab Emi­rates denied Israeli ten­nis player Sha­har Pe’er a visa to com­pete in an inter­na­tional ten­nis tour­na­ment in Dubai. A num­ber of impor­tant ten­nis fig­ures, includ­ing Venus Williams and Andy Rod­dick (who dropped out in protest), pub­licly con­demned the UAE deci­sion, and Pe’er was allowed to com­pete the fol­low­ing year, albeit with heavy restrictions.

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