The AACS Legislative Office monitors issues that affect the educational freedom and religious liberty of Christian schools.
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The Washington Flyer
October 28, 2016

“Cities may be rebuilt, and a people reduced to poverty, may acquire fresh property: but a Constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. When the people once surrender their share in the legislature, and their right of defending the limitations upon the government, and of resisting every encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”
John Adams
Obama Administration Pushing Transgender Mandate
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE)
filed an appeal to the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor which stopped the Obama administration’s transgender guidance from moving forward this year in public schools across the nation. The judge issued the ruling in August after 13 state attorney generals filed a lawsuit against the administration, charging an overreach of federal authority. The transgender mandate was issued last spring by the DOE through a guidance letter which instructed all public schools to implement a policy that allows students to use the bathroom or locker room of their chosen gender identity. The guidance letter made it clear that the schools were to accommodate transgender students, regardless of any concerns from parents or other students, and also strongly implied that federal funding could be tied to schools’ compliance with the new policy. The administration used Title IX, the education law which prohibits sex discrimination, as the basis for its new nondiscrimination policy, claiming the term sex included gender identity. However, the judge ruled that the administration had overstepped its authority by making such a substantive rule without going through the proper Congressional channels, and he further explicitly stated that the meaning of sex discrimination in Title IX “meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.” Following Judge O’Connor’s ruling, the U.S. Justice Department requested the judge limit his ruling to only the 13 states which were involved in the lawsuit. The judge refused, with the following explanation: “It is clear from Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit precedent that this Court has the power to issue a nationwide injunction where appropriate. Both Title IX and Title VII rely on the consistent, uniform application of national standards in education and workplace policy. A geographically-limited injunction would be ineffective.” The administration then filed an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans and often considered to be a conservative court. It is noteworthy that the appeal has been filed before Judge O’Connor has released all the details of his ruling, such as whether the ruling applies to teachers and staff, and whether Department of Labor rules are also affected. As Arthur Christopher Schaper, director of California MassResistance, observed, “President Obama’s obsession with this destructive transgender ideological agenda exposes his rank opposition to Constitutional rule as well as natural law and biological reality.” He continued, “Male and female are clear, distinct identities, and any attempt to ignore or remove recognition of these distinctions is destined to fail, hurting children physically, mentally, and spiritually, and [to] undermine the long-held truths of our society.

Pro Life

15 States Working to Defund Planned Parenthood
Following the release of several damaging undercover videos last year depicting the deplorable practices of many Planned Parenthood facilities and other abortion-related institutions, many states have moved to cut funding for the industry. So far, 15 states have attempted to defund Planned Parenthood—Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider at the center of the controversy, celebrated its 100th anniversary this year; but as the nation begins to trend pro-life, the recent revelations in the videos have done irrepairable damage to the institution. “At Planned Parenthood’s 100-year anniversary, tens of millions of Americans have now seen the shocking and callous way that this abortion factory’s top-level leaders scheme to make an easy and illegal profit off of tiny baby organs,”
stated David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress and the man responsible for the release of the videos. He also noted, “Millions of Americans are becoming increasingly aware that Planned Parenthood . . . receives over half a billion taxpayer dollars annually.” Many Republican legislators have vowed to continue fighting to defund Planned Parenthood at the state and federal level.

Religious Liberty

Georgia Pastor Refuses to Turn Over Sermons to the State
Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-Day Adventist lay minister, is refusing to comply with the
demand by the state of Georgia that he turn over his sermons. In 2014, Dr. Walsh was hired as the District Health Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and one week into his new job was asked by the DPH for copies of some sermons for review. He complied, and the DPH officials fired him two days later. Some of the sermons discussed the issues of sexuality, world religions, marriage, and creationism. After he was fired, Dr. Walsh filed a lawsuit against the DPH charging religious discrimination; and the state of Georgia responded by issuing a Request for Production of Documents, the equivalent of a subpoena, for “sermon notes and/or transcripts.” Dr. Walsh has stated he will not surrender his sermons as it is a violation of his religious freedom: “No government has the right to require a pastor to turn over his sermons. I cannot and will not give up my sermons unless I am forced to do so.” Jeremy Dys, the First Liberty Institute attorney who is defending Dr. Walsh, noted, “It’s an incredible intrusion on the sanctity of the pulpit. This is probably the most invasive reach into the pulpit by the state that I’ve ever seen.” The Family Research Council is gathering signatures for a petition to Georgia Governor Deal to intervene and protect religious freedom.



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American Association of Christian Schools
Jamison Coppola: Legislative Director
Maureen Van Den Berg: Policy Analyst

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