NRA sues Los Angeles over law requiring that contractors reveal ties to gun group

An attendee speaks to representatives of the National Rifle Association (NRA) at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland

(Reuters) – The National Rifle Association sued Los Angeles on Wednesday over a new law requiring that contractors seeking to do business in the second most-populous U.S. city must disclose their ties to the gun rights group.

The NRA said the law violates its First Amendment free speech and association rights and its equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution, according to its complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Mayor Eric Garcetti was also named as a defendant.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office and Garcetti’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit challenges an ordinance passed on Feb. 12 by the Los Angeles City Council that requires companies that want city contracts to disclose NRA contracts or sponsorships.

That ordinance was passed in the wake of a series of recent mass shootings in the United States.

The NRA said Los Angeles adopted the ordinance “intending to silence NRA’s voice, as well as the voices of all those who dare oppose the city’s broad gun-control agenda.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Woman pepper-sprayed at UC Berkeley protest sues university, police

A worker surveys the damage to a vandalized Starbucks after a student protest turned violent at UC Berkeley during a demonstration over right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, who was forced to cancel his talk, in Berkeley, California.

By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) – A woman who says she was pepper-sprayed by protesters demonstrating against a planned appearance by a right-wing speaker in February has sued the University of California at Berkeley for infringing on her First Amendment free speech rights.

Kiara Robles of Oakland, California is suing 18 individuals and organizations including officials at the University of California, UC Berkeley’s police department, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, the Berkeley Police Department, U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi and investor George Soros.

“Robles was attacked with extremely painful pepper spray and bear mace by masked assailants amongst the protesters because she chose to exercise her right to freedom of speech and show support for the planned speaker, Milo Yiannopoulous,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Larry Klayman, a conservative activist and one of Robles’ attorneys.

In an emailed statement on Tuesday, Dan Mogulof, a spokesman for the University of California at Berkeley, defended the actions of campus administrators and police, and said the university would vigorously fight the suit.

A spokesman for the Berkeley mayor’s office, Stefan Elgstrand, said the office has no comment on pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, Robles went to UC Berkeley to hear Yiannopoulous’ speech. But violence erupted after more than 1,500 protesters gathered on the campus, forcing the former Breitbart News editor to cancel his appearance at the liberal-leaning institution.

According to the lawsuit, the University of California, Berkeley unconstitutionally limited the First Amendment rights of its students and invitees at the event “who do not subscribe to the radical, left-wing philosophies sanctioned by defendants.”

Representative for the University of California’s office of the president and the city of Berkeley Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A statement from Pelosi was not immediately available, according to a spokeswoman from her office, Caroline Behringer.

George Soros could not immediately be reached.

Robles is demanding a trial by jury and is seeking more than $20,000,000 in damages and other relief, the lawsuit said.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Dan Grebler)

Protesters force UC Berkeley to cancel far-right speaker’s speech

vandalized bankf of america at scene of "protest"

(Reuters) – Hundreds of protesters at the University of California at Berkeley on Wednesday smashed windows, set fires and clashed with police as they forced a right-wing speaker to cancel his appearance at the liberal-leaning institution.

Two hours before far-right Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos was to give a speech at the student union, protesters tossed metal barricades and rocks through the building’s windows and set a light generator on fire near the entrance, footage from news outlets showed.

Police ordered protesters to disperse as the school put the campus on lockdown. Protesters also tossed bricks and fireworks at police in riot gear who fired rubber pellets back at the crowd, according to, a news outlet in San Francisco.

“We shut down the event. It was great. Mission accomplished,” a protester told CNN.

Some 150 “masked agitators” were responsible for the violence during the otherwise largely peaceful protest of about 1,500 people, the university said in a statement, noting that the school “is proud of its history and legacy as home of the Free Speech Movement” in the 1960s.

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, previously headed Breitbart News and CNN reported that many of the protesters voiced opposition to the Republican president.

Many of Trump’s executive orders and proposed policies, including his suspension of the U.S. refugee program and temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, have been met by largely peaceful protests that have drawn tens of thousands of people across the United States.

One protester at Berkeley held a sign that said “No Safe Space for Racists” while other protesters danced to hip hop music, footage from a Facebook Live feed showed.

Protesters later marched along streets near the campus where some smashed storefront windows and car windshields while clashing with police, the feed showed.

Yiannopoulos, whose account on Twitter was suspended last year after he was accused of participating in the online harassment of an African-American actress, criticized “the Left”, saying in a statement it was “absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”

He also said on Fox News that he was evacuated by police after protesters began throwing rocks and other objects at the building.

“Obviously it’s a liberal campus so they hate any libertarians or conservatives who dare to express an opinion on their campuses,” he said. “They particularly don’t like me.”

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Sandra Maler and Nick Macfie)

Congressmen Defense Army Chaplain Punished For Offering Guidance

An Army chaplain who was disciplined for offering spiritual guidance now has the support of 24 representatives and senators.

“We are concerned that this disciplinary action violated First Amendment free speech protection that are undergirded by state reflected in the FY2013 and FY2014 NDAAs, along with the accompanying DoD regulations,” states the letter from the senators, sent to Army Secretary John McHugh.

“In fulfilling his duties as chaplain, Captain Lawhorn shared both his personal struggle with depression as well as biblical references and materials in accordance with the views of his endorsing agency and complementary to personal convictions.”

Army Chaplain Capt. Joseph Lawhorn was given a “letter of concern” from a superior at Fort Benning when he mentioned his Christian faith during a suicide prevention class.

The letter from Col. David Fivecoat said a handout he offered required people to see Christian information.

“You provided a two-sided handout that listed Army resources on one side and a biblical approach to handling depression on the other side,” the letter read.  “This made it impossible for those in attendance to receive the resource information without also receiving the biblical information.”

“Regrettably, military chaplains have been increasingly under fire simply for fulfilling their important and time-honored role in supporting our service members. This is just one more incident that sets a bad precedent, effectively gagging chaplains and keeping service members from getting the support they need,” Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty executive director Ron Crews said.

Court Rules North Carolina Ultrasound Law “Free Speech Violation”

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down North Carolina’s law requiring mothers to obtain an ultrasound prior to killing their child via abortion.

The court agreed with the lower court that the requirement is unconstitutional because it violates the “right to free speech.”

North Carolina lawmakers passed the Women’s Right to Know Act in 2011, which required women to obtain an ultrasound prior to an abortion, and that the abortionist describe the child’s features to the mother, as well as offer the opportunity to listen to the baby’s heartbeat.  The governor at the time, Beverly Purdue vetoed the bill because of her endorsement of abortion.  The legislators overruled the veto.

Mega-abortionist Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Center For Reproductive Rights sued to block the law and it was struck down by Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles as “an impermissible attempt to compel providers to deliver the state’s message in favor of childbirth and against abortion.”

“This compelled speech, even though it is a regulation of the medical profession, is ideological in intent and in kind,” the panel wrote in support of Eagles’ ruling. “The First Amendment not only protects against prohibitions of speech, but also against regulations that compel speech. A regulation compelling speech is by its very nature content-based, because it requires the speaker to change the content of his speech or even to say something where he would otherwise be silent.”

Attorney General Roy Cooper, who said he personally opposes the law, said he will appeal because it’s his responsibility to defense state law regardless of his personal beliefs.

Anti-Christian Lawyer Wants Churches Banned From Virginia Schools

A Virginia attorney wants to force public schools to stop renting spaces to churches for worship services.

John Flannery, who served as Chief of Staff for a Democratic representative from California, says that it’s a problem that 34 schools in Loudoun County allow churches to rent space and meet on their premises each Sunday.

“It’s time to declare that religious worship is an impermissible use of our public schools,” the anti-Christian lawyer said. “In Loudoun County, the churches that use public school space are holding ‘church services’ and collecting ‘donations.’ This use advances religious worship, and thus religion. The government is plainly entangled when it’s hosting religious worship not in one or two schools but in 40% of all the county’s public schools.”

School board member Bill Fox notes that Flannery is well known for his desire to eradicate Christians from society.

“Flannery really won’t be satisfied until we’ve completely excised religion from the public sphere,” Fox stated. “Some folks just believe that the First Amendment stands for the proposition that we should free from religion, instead of having freedom of religion. I’ve been an advocate for the First Amendment my entire life, and that’s not the First Amendment [interpretation] that I’ve studied and that I advocate for.”

Navy Chaplain Dismissed For Standing For Jesus Elected To State House

A Navy chaplain discharged for praying in Jesus’ name while he was in uniform is heading to the Colorado State House.

Gordon Klingenschmitt was elected in Colorado’s 15th District with 70% of the vote in a district that is only 43% Republican.

“I owe a great debt to our volunteers and donors, and I am humbled by the voters’ support. As perhaps the only ordained minister elected to our state Republican caucus, I will work hard to represent all people of my district, regardless of political or religious belief. As a Chaplain, veteran, and PhD in Theology, I will defend everybody’s First Amendment rights,” Klingenschmitt said in his victory address.

Klingenschmitt was dismissed after 16 years as a Navy Chaplain for praying in Jesus name in public events and for attending partisan events in his naval uniform.  After being removed from the service, he started the “Pray In Jesus’ Name” project to reaffirm the rights of chaplains and Americans to pray in Jesus’ name in public.

Some liberal media outlets have denounced Klingenschmitt as being a “radical” for saying that American law needs to reflect God’s law and that we should base our lives and decisions on the Bible.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday Features Over A Thousand Pastors

Over a thousand pastors took to their pulpits on Sunday to say that Christ controls what they say to their congregations, not the government.

The Pulpit Initiative, part of the Alliance Defending Freedom, organized the 7th Annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday.  The goal is to have pastors “speak truth into every area of life from the pulpit.”

“Pastors should decide what they preach from the pulpit, not the IRS,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who oversees the observance. “Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about. The IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status. There’s a growing chorus of pastors’ voices calling for a solution to this very real constitutional violation.”

The event had pastors participating from all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The move is to point out the “Johnson Amendment” of 1954 that says churches cannot “participate in or intervene in” political campaigns.

“The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “Rather than risk confrontation, many pastors have self-censored their speech—afraid to apply the teachings of Scripture to specific candidates or elections. As in years past, the participants in Pulpit Freedom Sunday 2014 are taking a stand against being intimidated into sacrificing their First Amendment freedoms.”

California Forces Faith-Based Employers To Pay For Abortions

The state of California is forcing all faith-based employers to pay for abortions.

The California Department of Managed Health Care told insurance companies in the state all abortions must be covered.  Michelle Rouillard, director of DMHC, said that “abortion is a basic health care service.”

Rouillard asserts that the California constitution prohibits health plans from “discriminating against women who choose” to kill their babies via abortion.

The directive is seen as a state agent acting to penalize two Roman Catholic/Jesuit universities that said they would no longer pay for abortions in health care plans but would not stop employees from obtaining it from third parties.

The Alliance Defending Freedom and the Life Legal Defense Foundation sent rebuttal letters on Friday saying the state’s mandate is a violation of federal law. The letter says that DMHC’s action is violation of the Weldon Amendment.

Christian Groups Demand Release of IRS/Atheist Deal

Christian organizations are demanding the Internal Revenue Service release the details of a deal they made with the anti-Christian Freedom From Religion Foundation to target churches and their tax-exempt status.

The agreement between the IRS and the anti-Christianists was part of a hearing in federal court on July 17th to settle a lawsuit brought in 2012.

The virulent anti-Christian Freedom From Religion Foundation said that churches were illegally influencing the outcome of elections by talking to congregants about political issues from the pulpit during services.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition says that the IRS has a history of harassment of conservative and Christian groups, making this secret deal with those aiming to destroy Christians dangerous for all Americans.

“Given the history of the IRS in harassing, persecuting and infringing on the First Amendment rights of Christians and other people of faith, this is a deeply disturbing development,” said Ralph Reed, chairman of Faith & Freedom Coalition. “For the Christian community to be targeted for increased enforcement power and the threat of loss of tax-exempt status by this scandal-plagued agency defies logic, common sense, and any sound legal basis.”

The group is not the only ones looking into the secret deal.  Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has sent letters to the IRS and Department of Justice demanding to see all communications between the government and the anti-Christianists.