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And It Doesn’t Ever Let Up

October 4, 2021 Frontpage No Comments

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

There is an old saying, “If at first you do not succeed, try, try again.” That now seems to be the mantra for the crazy anti-religious zealots who populate blue state administrative agencies.
About a year ago a Federal District Court in New York granted a request for a preliminary injunction against the state commissioner for the Office of Children and Families (OCFS) in favor of a Christian adoption agency, New Hope Family Services.
New Hope’s lawsuit was provoked by a rule promulgated by OCFS which prohibited “discrimination and harassment against applicants for adoption services on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, religion, or disability.” Ultimately, OCFS sought to terminate New Hope’s authority to serve as an adoption agency because its religious beliefs would not allow it to place children in the homes of same-sex, unmarried, or transgendered couples.
OCFS appealed the decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which sided with New Hope, finding that “the adoption provider’s arguments demonstrate that the government’s regulation may not have been neutral and may instead have been ‘informed by hostility toward certain religious beliefs’.”
Good for them, you might say. But hold on, the unreligious bureaucrats who run the administrative agencies in New York have tried another bite at the apple. Now the state Division of Human Rights is threatening New Hope for the same thing, apparently believing that what might be unlawful for OCFS is perfectly fine if it comes from a different agency. On behalf of New Hope, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed a new legal challenge to the current threats, so New Hope is back rehashing the same legal ground as before, only with a different arm of the state than the last go-around.
Not unexpectedly, New Hope’s new lawsuit sound a lot like the pleadings that went to the Second Circuit before.
But there is something new this time. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case eerily similar to New Hope’s, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, ruled unanimously that the city could not discriminate against a faith-based foster care and adoption agency.
You have to wonder if the New York power system is so anti-religion, or just so overly stupid, to try to bully New Hope again. It just goes to demonstrate how the new “progressive” administrative agencies can use their powers in an attempt to just inflict damage on those with whom they disagree.
But the anti-religion sentiment is not limited to New York. The state of Vermont is doing the same thing.
Under state law, if a child lives in an area which is not served by a high school, the school district is to pay tuition to a school of the parents’ choice — even if that school is out of state. One such school district decided it would not pay the tuition for students wishing to attend a religious school.
Well, maybe. As it turned out the schools under consideration were to be rated according to how religious they were. The more so, the less likely they would be approved; thus a school religious in name only would be approved but one that taught religious principles would not. Confusing? Sure was, but the one thing easy to understand was that the state was evaluating these schools by measuring their religiousness.
So there was another lawsuit and it also found its way to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which, citing numerous Supreme Court cases, ruled against the school district. There is now a preliminary injunction preventing the state to consider the religiousness of the schools.
So, the good guys win again? Well, not so fast. The key to the state is that the injunction against it is “preliminary” and if only the state waits until it expires they can try it all over again. Or so they think. The ADF also represents the plaintiffs here and it has already filed another suit to protect what we thought had already been protected.
There’s a time when you should know enough to throw in the towel and give up, but religious bigots don’t use common sense, as a result everything from the first case will need to be replayed simply to get the same result.
Where do these guys come from?
Of course they’re all over the place. Remember Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. He was cited by the state for violating its public accommodations laws for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He was dragged through the state courts, losing all the way. That is until the Supreme Court got ahold of the case and vindicated Phillips’ religious conscience rights by refusing to bake the cake.
He’s now going through the entire process again. This time the issue is not a wedding cake but a gender transition cake, a custom pink and blue cake to reflect the client’s transition from one sex to another. Now, knowing that Mr. Phillips will fight this to the bitter end again, and he’s got a very good chance of prevailing on the merits again, why would someone pick a fight with him again?
It’s simple, and ADF attorney Jake Warner summed it up best:
“In this case, an activist attorney demanded that Jack Phillips create custom cakes in order to test Jack and to ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking, and the attorney even threatened to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason. This case and others like it represent a disturbing trend: Activists are weaponizing the legal system to ruin those who simply disagree with them. Someone you disagree with might be the one targeted today, but when political winds shift, it could just as easily be you or anyone else tomorrow.”
A similar issue is at play in Alaska, which I pointed out before. In Anchorage, the Downtown Hope Center is a shelter for battered and abused women who need a safe place. In 2018 an inebriated and injured man appeared for shelter and the Hope Center referred him to a nearby hospital and even paid for his cab fare there. The man later filed a complaint with the city’s equal rights commission for not allowing him to sleep with homeless women, many of whom had been abused.
The city decided to pursue the matter and ADF again filed suit to protect the Hope Center. After a temporary order against the city, the city agreed to drop the suit and the parties agreed to make the temporary order permanent.
Later the city ordinance under question was amended in an attempt to find a new way to punish the Hope Center. Now they’re all back in court re-litigating the same issue: Should a man be able to take refuge in a battered woman’s shelter?
And remember the Little Sisters of the Poor? How many times were they dragged into court only to have the Supreme Court vindicate them against the bigots who tried to destroy them?
You can’t make this stuff up. Pray! It may be the only answer to such human hate and stupidity.

  • + + (You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday on Faith On Trial on IowaCatholicRadio.com.)
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