Chula Vista, CA—A talented Salt Creek Elementary School kindergartener was recently turned down from playing the guitar while singing a song at his school's upcoming May 23 talent show. The unwarranted—and unconstitutional—rejection didn't come due to lack of talent but because the song, "Our God Is Mercy," is a Christian song.
Sacramento, CA--In an attempt to stop the legislative insanity before it goes too far again, Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) sent a letter, Wednesday, to the California Senate Governance and Finance Committee in opposition to Senate Bill 323. This bill seeks to remove key tax exemptions from any non-profit youth organization—specifically targeting Boy Scouts in the bill—that does not embrace “gender identity” and homosexuality.
Sacramento, CA--The Pacific Justice Institute is announcing the launch of a new website and resources designed to counter two legislative bills that threaten the existence of the boy Scouts and would mandate some of the most aggressive invasions of privacy, freedom of association and religious freedom ever proposed in the name of LGBT rights.
Washington, DC--Pacific Justice Institute is filing complaints today with the Washington D.C. Bar against nine federal attorneys over their handling of litigation involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The complaints, brought by more than 900 people, allege that federal attorneys litigating cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA intentionally took action to sabotage the case and prejudice the federal defendants that they were charged with defending.
Litchfield, CT – A synagogue (Chabad Lubavitch) purchased a two story “stick style” Victorian building constructed in the late 1870s to use as a place of worship. They intended to use the structure to serve the needs of the community; host prayer, religious ceremonies, religious education; provide living quarters for the Rabbi and his family, and a guest apartment.
Sacramento, CA – A new bill introduced this week in the California Senate would take some of the most aggressive action to date to force youth organizations to embrace homosexuality and “gender identity.”
SB 323, sponsored by Equality California and introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D – Long Beach) threatens to revoke tax exempt status for a wide range of “youth groups” unless they agree to abandon any criteria related to gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and other categories.
Sacramento, CA – Pacific Justice Institute filed an amicus brief this week with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of California’s Proposition 8. The Supreme Court will hear arguments March 26 and 27 on the constitutionality of Prop. 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. These two decisions are expected to mark a major turning point in not only the debate over same-sex "marriage," but also the ability of citizens to determine controversial issues through the initiative and legislative processes.
Visalia, CA – Attorneys with the Pacific Justice Institute have filed suit against the Visalia Mall for violations of free speech and public accommodations laws.
The Complaint filed late last week in Tulare County Superior Court alleges that Mall management and security officers threatened to arrest John Vadnais, an elder at a local church, for sharing his faith with other mall visitors. Until last January, Vadnais went to the Mall often to shop and eat. He also struck up conversations with other shoppers and discussed his Christian faith. Mall staff harassed and eventually summoned local police to intimidate Vadnais. Vadnais sought clarity from Mall management over several months in 2012 and was eventually told that talking to strangers at the Mall was off-limits if the subject was religion.
Sacramento, CA – Officials in Sacramento are backpedaling from initial threats to shut down a small outreach to the homeless in Discovery Park. A public hearing this week is expected to spark a lively debate on the issue.
For more than two years, half a dozen parishioners from Real Life Church in Natomas have trekked down to Discovery Park every Wednesday to share their lunch and words of encouragement with the homeless who frequent the park. Late last year, park rangers started telling the group that they would need expensive “special event” permits in order to continue feeding the homeless. Such permits are only granted four times a year, which would eliminate the weekly potlucks. County officials also told the group’s leader, Tatiana Capizzano, that their food, usually prepared at home, would need to undergo inspection.
Cheltenham, PA – Police in a Pennsylvania township began monitoring a property purchased by a church while local officials threatened $500 per day fines, claiming that use of the land was illegal. The First Korean Church of New York was denied permission to use a property which it purchased in a sheriff’s sale in the Township of Cheltenham for use as a seminary and to hold small church services. The property was previously used as a seminary campus by another organization. The land, zoned for residential use, is more than 30 acres and has a 110 room mansion and another 44 room hall. Now in disrepair, these structures were built more than 100 years ago for an industrialist during what is known as the “Gilded Age.”