A Stand for Religious Liberty at God and Country Rally

February 23, 2012

Kelly Shackelford God and Country Rally Athens TXOn a cold and wet morning this past Saturday, hundreds of Texans packed the Lakewood Church of the Nazarene in Tyler, TX to take a stand for religious freedom and to educate and encourage pastors and their congregations to stay informed about important issue of faith.  Local pastors and state and national leaders, including Liberty Institute’s President Kelly Shackelford, laid out how our religious liberty is under assault.  The first amendment has rarely been attacked so openly and overtly like what we are seeing today. Just a few recent examples include: (1) the Obama administration’s HHS mandating that Catholic institutions and other religious organizations must provide abortifacents and birth control in violation of their own teachings and conscience, (2)  the Obama administration challenging the right of churches to hire their own pastors and employees based on their religious beliefs at the U.S. Supreme Court,  and (3) liberal activist groups like the ACLU trying to tear down crosses at our veteran’s memorials around the country.

Here is a video with some of the highlights from the rally:

The genesis of the God and Country movement in fact started here in Texas last December when an atheist group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation demanded that a Nativity scene in Athens be removed from the court house lawn.  In an inspiring show of support for religious freedom and the true meaning of the first amendment, thousands of people gathered in Athens on December 17, 2011 to stand against the ever growing attacks on Christians and people of faith.  As a result, the first amendment prevailed and the Nativity scene was not removed.

If there ever was a time, the time is now for people of faith to take a stand and for pastors to lead their congregations in engaging in the important issues of faith going on in our culture.

One of the most important ways they can do that is to inform and encourage people of faith to vote.  As we are in primary election season, it is important for churches to know that they can register their members to vote, to pass out and encourage their members to use our voters guides, and for pastors to know that they can speak out on important issues like religious liberty as they feel lead to from the Lord.

As witnessed in the God and Country Rally, we are excited that people are starting to wake up and see what is at stake. We look forward to continuing to be part of the fight to reclaim and defend our religious freedoms, and it certainly will be one of our top priorities as we head into the next legislative session.


Rally for “God and Country” this Saturday

February 14, 2012

In case you haven’t noticed, your religious freedoms are under attack. From the Obama administration’s HHS mandating that Catholic institutions and other religious organizations must provide abortifacents and birth control in violation of their own teachings and consciences to liberal groups like the ACLU trying to tear down crosses at our veteran’s memorials around the country, the very foundations of our first amendment are under assault. Here in Texas last December, an atheist group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation demanded that a Nativity scene in Athens be removed from the court house lawn.

God and country rally

In an inspiring show of support for religious freedom and the true meaning of the first amendment, thousands of people gathered in Athens on December 17, 2011 to stand against the ever growing attacks on Christians and people of faith.  Building on that rally, the “God and Country” movement is:

Calling all Christian Leaders, regardless of faith, and conservatives throughout America to harness our voices in a network of alliances to reclaim our First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and the “free exercise” of our religion.

The kick-off event is the God and Country Rally this Saturday in Tyler. See the details here:

God And Country Rally

 Doors Open 9:00 A.M. CST

February 18, 2012 · 10:00 A.M. CST

Lakeview Church of the Nazarene

10818 Spur 248 · Tyler, Texas

No Charge

 Seating is limited to 500 capacity

 RSVP at God-Country.org

Liberty Institute’s President and CEO, Kelly Shackelford, will address the rally along with other Christian leaders and pastors from across the state. To quote Dr. Nathan Lorick, a founding pastor of the movement, “This is a time when Christian Leaders should stand up for Christianity in America by becoming active in the pulpit while speaking with their congregations about protecting their first amendment rights.”  We encourage people to attend the event to learn about the significant rights that Churches and Pastors have to stand up for truth and to educate and engage their congregations on the importance of voting.

It’s time to take a stand to reclaim and defend our religious freedoms.  If you will not, who will?


CTxPAC coming February 3rd and 4th – Register Today!

January 17, 2012

Texans from all across the state will be convening in Austin, TX February 3-4, 2012 for the premier conservative grassroots event in the state, CTxPAC.   Liberty Institute is a founding sponsor of CTxPAC and our President and CEO Kelly Shackelford will be addressing the conference on Saturday, February 4th as well as leading a workshop.  Other founding sponsor’s of the event include Americans for Prosperity – Texas, FreedomWorks, New Revolution Now, and numerous Tea Party groups from across the state.  Just a few highlights of the event will include:

Great Speakers and Empowering Workshops: Hear from leading conservative leaders and have opportunities to meet conservative grassroots leaders from around Texas, get advice, and get up-to-date on the latest grassroots strategies and technologies.  Workshops will be conducted by Liberty Institute, Americans for Prosperity – Texas, FreedomWorks, Common Ground America, and others.

Presidential Town Hall and Texas Conservative Caucus: The conservative grassroots will make a historic pre-primary statement by conducting a caucus to choose a nominee for President. All registrants will be eligible to vote except discounted student registrants.  Invited Presidential Candidates and Campaigns include Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Ron Paul.  This will be an exciting, interactive event – so don’t miss your opportunity to join conservative Texans in voting.

Patriot Reception: Join us for this exceptional private reception that includes food, drink and entertainment. CTxPAC is over-flowing with opportunities to network and build relationships with other state and national activists and conservative candidates.  A highlight of the Patriot Reception will be the announcement of the Texas Top Ten Conservative Challenger Candidates.  Nominate your top 5 candidates here.

As we move into this all important 2012 election year, it is vitally important that we stay actively engaged and informed.  Be sure to check out all the event details on the CTxPAC website and you can register for the Friday night and all day Saturday events here.  Attendance is limited so please register today!


Watch Our Video on Texas Sonogram Case Victory!!

January 12, 2012

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2012/January/Texas-Can-Enforce-Sonogram-Viewing-Law-for-Now/

By the way, big thanks goes to Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell for doing an excellent job defending the Texas Sonogram law!!


Texas Sonogram Law Ruled Constitutional

January 10, 2012

Breaking News — Texas Sonogram law ruled constitutional! The Fifth Circuit Court (Edith Jones opinion) holds recently enacted Texas Sonogram law constitutional. The Fifth Circuit reversed Judge Sparks, vacating his granting of preliminary injunction, which had stopped enforcement of the Texas Sonogram law.

Check back to the blog today for a full press release with quotes from the bill’s authors, Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller. Liberty Institute, on behalf of Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller, had filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the law.

You can download the 5th Circuit Court opinion here

Update: See here for Liberty Institute’s press release.


Just in Time for Christmas, Infamous Candy Cane Case Appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court

December 22, 2011

Liberty Institute released the following press release today:

Plano, Texas, December 22, 2011—Today, days before Christmas, Liberty Institute filed a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in Morgan v. Swanson, (known nationwide as the “candy cane” case), asking the Court to hold government officials accountable for violating students’ First Amendment rights. Liberty Institute filed the petition on behalf of Plano ISD students who, during Christmas 2003, were banned by school officials from distributing candy cane pens, pencils and other gifts containing religious messages to classmates during non-curricular activities and after school—a clear violation of their constitutional rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

“Every school official knows that engaging in religious viewpoint discrimination against students is unconstitutional,” said Kelly Shackelford, Esq., president/CEO of Liberty Institute. “Saying that school officials can engage in such religious discrimination without any responsibility is not the law and would send exactly the wrong message to millions of school children and their families.”

The petition asks The Supreme Court to review a deeply divided en banc decision of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which narrowly granted two school officials, Lynn Swanson, Principal of Thomas Elementary School, and Jackie Bombchill, Principal of Rasor Elementary School, qualified immunity, despite numerous constitutional violations. While recognizing that the school officials violated the Constitution, a majority of the court determined that the law, however, was not clearly established enough to hold them responsible. In July 2010, a unanimous panel of the Fifth Circuit denied the school officials qualified immunity recognizing that the law prohibiting viewpoint discrimination is clearly established and also rejected the school officials’ argument that elementary school students have no First Amendment rights.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who will argue the “Obamacare” lawsuit in the Supreme Court in March, serves as co-counsel with Liberty Institute and argued the case alongside former U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr at the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in September. Clement also co-wrote the petition for review to The Supreme Court.

After eight years in litigation, the candy cane case has come to symbolize what many call “the war on Christmas.” Since 2003, the case has affected change throughout the nation, reshaping school district policies, influencing changes to state law, evoking questions about religious expression in schools and forcing the examination of student’s First Amendment rights. By taking the case, the U.S. Supreme Court would likely clarify the law nationwide, which affects over 40 million students.

Liberty Institute is a non-profit legal firm that works to restore and defend religious freedoms in schools, churches and the public arena. Visit www.LibertyInstitute.org or www.CandyCaneCase.com for more information.


Conservative Texans Political Action Conference (CTxPAC) coming in February 2012

November 29, 2011

Texans from all across the state will be convening in Austin this coming February 3-4, 2012 for the premier conservative grassroots event in the state, CTxPAC.   Just a few highlights of the event include:

Texas Conservative Caucus:  The conservative grassroots will make a historic pre-primary statement by conducting a caucus to choose a nominee for President. All registrants will be eligible to vote except discounted student registrants.

Presidential Town Hall: With the primaries in Texas right around the corner from CTxPAC, the conference expects to draw presentations from top Presidential hopefuls.  Invited Presidential Candidates and Campaigns include Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum.

Empowering Workshops: Opportunities to meet conservative grassroots leaders from around Texas, get advice, and get up-to-date on the latest grassroots strategies and technologies.

Liberty Institute is a founding sponsor of CTxPAC, along with several other conservative organizations and tea party groups, and our President and CEO Kelly Shackelford will be addressing the conference on Saturday, February 4th as well as leading a workshop.  Be sure to check out all the details on the CTxPAC website and be sure to register here.  Attendance is limited so please register today!


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