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Catholic Group Warns Rauner: Support for Abortion Funding Will Sink Re-Election

CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — CatholicVote.org, a national Catholic advocacy group is warning Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner that support for new legislation forcing taxpayers to directly fund abortion will effectively doom his re-election bid in 2018.

CatholicVote.org President Brian Burch issued the following statement:

“We have been following the developments surrounding H.B. 40, a new spending bill pending before the Illinois General Assembly that, if passed, would authorize the use of state dollars to fund abortion services for qualified Medicaid recipients. Should Governor Rauner sign the bill as it is currently written, pro-life voters will be left with no choice but to oppose his candidacy next year.

“We have been in conversation with pro-life groups around the state.  The overwhelming consensus is that support for any legislation that would coerce Illinois taxpayers into directly funding abortion would disqualify him from receiving their support.

“We understand Governor Rauner has been unfairly blamed for the budget crisis and financial catastrophe created by Democrat political leaders in recent decades. The state owes $10 billion in unpaid bills, with tens of billions more in unfunded liabilities.  Yet now politicians want to spend scarce state resources to pay for abortions.  Rauner’s support of this reckless bill would rip apart the Republican Party and destroy any chance of his re-election.

“Let me be clear.  If Governor Rauner signs the bill as written, we will urge our members along with every pro-life voter in the state to support an alternative candidate — or to abstain from voting for his re-election.  And we won’t be the only group doing so.

“Governor Rauner pledged to remain neutral on social issues.  He repeatedly said he does not have a social agenda yet is already defending himself in a lawsuit for breaking this promise.  If Bruce Rauner signs his name to this abortion spending bill, he cannot be trusted with another term as Governor.”

CatholicVote.org, a national faith-based advocacy group with over 600,000 members and is based in Madison, WI.

Attorneys Defend the Nativity: Expression of Faith on Public Property Constitutional

Thomas More Society Legal Experts Uphold Private Citizens’ Right to Celebrate Christmas in the Public Square

CHICAGO, Nov. 26, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Never fear, the attorneys are here to separate fact from fiction surrounding private citizens’ right to freely express religious faith in the public square. Nativity scenes will appear in nine State Capitols this Christmas – five of them due to the work of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm.

As experts on public nativity displays, Thomas More Society attorneys have settled legal challenges for private groups sponsoring Christmas manger scenes for thirty years, since helping defend the original erection of a life size crèche on Chicago’s Daley Plaza.

Christmas 2014 marks the eighth year that statues of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus have resided in a small stable at the Illinois State Capitol. Thomas More Society has also helped secure permits for nativity scenes to be displayed this year in the State Capitols of Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island, Texas, and on the Governor’s Mansion lawn in Oklahoma.

“These nativity displays represent classic free speech and the free exercise of faith by private citizens in the public square,” explained Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society. “However,” he added, “The issue has not been without controversy.”

Private citizens who wish to display a nativity scene in traditional or designated public forums often run into roadblocks that violate their free speech rights, including:

  1. Take it all down
    Either unwilling or unable to discern what is legally permissible, some authorities will allow no displays that allude to Christmas. This was the case last year when the U.S. Military’s Guantanamo Bay commander ordered the removal of all Christmas nativities, and nativity scenes were also removed from Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina.
  2. Secular only
    When only allowing secular holiday scenes, some authorities refuse to permit any display deemed “religious,” deferring to generic winter symbolism such as snowflakes and mittens.

“These are issues that our Thomas More Society experts can address,” offered Brejcha, who has helped file permit requests and brought about amicable resolutions to disputes with municipal and state officials over Christian nativity scenes for three decades.

Brejcha added that resolution is often simply a case of education, “Nativity displays represent a constitutionally protected expression by private citizens in traditional or designated public forums, where the sole role of the government must be that of a viewpoint-neutral gatekeeper assuring open access for all citizens to have their ‘say.’ Such private expressions of religious belief in the public squares of our nation are not merely tolerable but fully deserving of robust legal protection.” In other words – there’s no need for a fight before Christmas.

Individuals or private citizen groups who are interested in sponsoring a public nativity scene – or those encountering roadblocks in doing so – may contact the Thomas More Society at 312.782.1680 or info@thomasmoresociety.org.

About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society is a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends and fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
www.thomasmoresociety.org

Springfield Welcomes Christmas Nativity Scene to State Capitol Rotunda Beginning December 3

Thomas More Society Facilitates Illinois’ Sixth Annual Display of Religion in the Public Square

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Nov. 27, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — The State Capitol Rotunda in Springfield welcomes the 6th annual Christmas Nativity scene beginning at noon on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. This privately-funded display of religion in Illinois’ public square has been hosted by the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee and facilitated by the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based not-for-profit public interest law firm.

The Christmas crèche display will stand in the center of the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda, next to the Governor’s Holiday Tree, and will depict the newborn Christ child lying in a manger inside a handcrafted wooden stable. The official unveiling of the Nativity tableau will feature a celebration marking Christmas, the Christian holy day honoring the birth of Jesus Christ.

WHAT: Springfield Nativity Scene opening celebration

WHEN: Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at 12 p.m. noon to 1 p.m. (Central)
The exhibit will remain in the rotunda throughout the Christmas season.

WHERE: The Illinois State Capitol Rotunda, South 2nd Street & East Capitol Avenue, Springfield, IL
MAP: goo.gl/maps/vc7ch

WHO: open to the public, sponsored by the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee

CELEBRATION DETAILS:

 

    • Rev. Bernie Lutchman, President of Business Men in Christ of Springfield will give an invocation.
    • Springfield Baptist Church Official Praise Team led by Music Pastor Brian Morgan will perform Christmas carols.
    • Chaplain Steve Holden of US Emergency Chaplains Corps will lay a Christmas wreath in honor and special recognition of the service and sacrifice of America’s military veterans.

      Speakers include…

    • • Most Rev. Thomas J. Paprocki, Bishop of the Catholic

Diocese of Springfield in Illinois

      • Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society and Springfield
      Nativity Scene Committee legal counsel
      • Pastor Charlie Carver, South Tower Community Church of Dawson
      • Beth Rogers, Springfield Nativity Scene Committee
    • Pastor Brian Williams, Broken Chains Church

The crèche and manger represent a constitutionally protected expression by private citizens in a traditional public forum, namely the Capitol Rotunda, where political rallies are routinely held during sessions of the Illinois General Assembly and other times. This is classic free speech and citizens’ free exercise of their religious faith in the public square, where the sole role of the government is that of a viewpoint-neutral gatekeeper assuring open access for all citizens to have their “say.” Government is neither censor nor endorser of such religious speech. This display is privately funded and sponsored by the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee, bereft of any government aid or endorsement, and therefore it is clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and its counterpart in the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

The Springfield Nativity Scene Committee’s primary goal is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. A secondary mission is to proclaim and demonstrate to the public and the media that such private expressions of religious belief in the public squares of the nation are not merely tolerated but fully deserving of robust legal protection.

Any individuals or groups wishing to sing near the Nativity Scene on weekdays over the noon hour are invited to contact Salli Chernis of the Illinois Secretary of State office, 217-782-8996 for a permit.

About the Thomas More Society
Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm that exists to restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro-bono professional legal services from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
www.thomasmoresociety.org

Richard Viguerie: Send the Illinois GOP Establishment a Message

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

MANASSAS, Va., March 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, issued the following statement regarding the Republican presidential primary in Illinois:

Rick Santorum

      ‘s Illinois campaign is powered by a simple theme: Send Them A Message.
      “Santorum’s pitch to grassroots conservatives to stand with him for conservative principles and ‘stick it to the Man’ in the establishment GOP seems to be working. In some polls, Santorum is even with moderate Mitt Romney, despite the former Massachusetts Governor’s 10 to 1 or better spending advantage.
        “Part of the reason Santorum’s ‘send them a message’ pitch is working is that the

Illinois Republican Party

        had been steadily losing ground until the anti-establishment

Tea Party

      landslide of 2010.
        “But the establishment GOP has no intention of letting go of the reins of power without a fight. Just as they have done for decades, the Illinois establishment Republican Party has rejected the principled conservative message and thrown its support to moderate former Massachusetts

Governor Mitt Romney

      , instead of Rick Santorum.
      “Wedded to the notoriously corrupt statehouse patronage system, the establishment barons of the Illinois Republican Party don’t seem to understand that what powered the Tea Party candidates to victory in 2010 was, not only a rejection of Obamacare and Obamanomics, but a rejection of their own failed business-as-usual, Democratic-light policies.
      “In Illinois, voters vote to select the presidential candidate and his delegate slate. Romney may be playing right into Santorum’s hands, and against the 2010 tide, by packing his delegate slate with the same establishment Republican members of the Illinois General Assembly, mayors, and local Party poobahs whom grassroots conservative voters associate with the establishment GOP’’ years of corruption and failure.
    “In 2010, the Tea Party and grassroots movement conservative voters sent a message that business-as-usual establishment Republicans are just as big a threat to freedom as are liberal Democrats. In Illinois, grassroots movement conservative and Tea Party voters can send that same message by turning out to vote for Rick Santorum in the Republican presidential primary election.”