Indiana Leads the Way With an Outrageous RFRA Proposal Again (Justia.com)

The Indiana legislature and Gov. Pence did so well toying with free exercise rights in its two versions of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) last year, as discussed hereand here, that some now feel empowered to take the extreme standard in RFRA and extend it to other rights. That’s right: the RFRA proposal now on Indiana’s radar would pile on to inflate protections for free speech, free assembly and petitioning the government, and that one right that really needs more pumping up in this era: the right to bear arms. What could be wrong with such rights, you Read More …

Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations Reform 2015 Year in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Justia.com)

The movement to eliminate and revive expired statutes of limitations (SOLs) for child sex abuse made significant progress in 2015. It also inspired a new and related SOL reform movement for all rape victims, young and old, as the SOLs became a major factor in the dozens of out-of-statute allegations against Bill Cosby, as I discuss here. Finally, there is a decided trend in SOL reform that needs to be stemmed and reversed before our children will be safe: legislators’ willingness to let institutions off the hook. The SOL reform movement is also increasingly global. There is a growing global Read More …

Donald Trump and the Need for Civil, Accurate Discourse (Justia.com)

Donald Trump has rightly been vilified for his ridiculous, laughable, obscene suggestion that Muslims be denied entry into the United States based on being . . . Muslim: whether you want to say it is “unpatriotic” or “ahistorical,” Trump is just wrong. He is betraying what makes America truly great: the absolute right to believe anything; the right to publicly criticize any viewpoint; and the obligation not to harm others through conduct. This is the three-part foundation of the First Amendment. Just like Christianity and Judaism and Hinduism, among many other religions, the generic term for Islam covers so many Read More …

The Opposite of ISIS Is the First Amendment, And Its Members Are Extremist Islamic Terrorists (Justia.com)

What is the opposite of ISIS? It’s not atheism or secularism. Rather, it’s the First Amendment, whose Religion and Speech Clauses require the state to be neutral toward religion and require believers to obey the neutral, generally applicable laws that apply to everyone else. In the United States, no one religion can be the government or control the government, and no religion may rid the rest of the country of apostates. Nor can any government imprison or execute someone for blasphemy of any sacred text or for believing or not believing anything. Nor can men enslave women and children simply Read More …

Waves Up, Presidential Candidates (Justia.com)

A tidal wave is about to hit politicians and candidates across the country, but my guess is they have no idea it is coming. It is certainly not a topic that has yet been raised during any of the presidential debates. This crashing wave is going to be generated by the motion picture Spotlight, which is about the cover up of child sex abuse by priests in the Boston Archdiocese. Where is this political pressure going to come from? The millions of child sex abuse victims whose abuse has been kept silent because adults like Cardinal Bernard Law turned the Read More …

Why the Victims of Bill Cosby Are My Heroes (Justia.com)

Dozens of women have now come forth in the public square to point a finger at Bill Cosby for drugging and raping them. Their stories are consistent, consistent, consistent, and but for the statutes of limitations (SOLs), he would be facing jail in a series of states. The SOLs Are a Major Barrier to Justice, and Survivors Are Speaking Up Regardless The truth is that the SOLs for child and adult rape in the relevant states so far are posing a formidable barrier to justice. It is heartening to watch feminist lawyer Gloria Allred go after Cosby hammer and tongs Read More …

Pope Francis Visits Philadelphia and Promises No More Secrets (Justia.com)

God works in mysterious ways, so I have my doubts that it was pure coincidence that the Pope visited Philadelphia exactly ten years after the release of the landmark 2005 Grand Jury Report on Sexual Abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. I was there in 2005 next to pioneering District Attorney Lynne Abraham as we introduced this massive, detailed document of decades of abuse and cover up by Cardinals Krol and Bevilacqua and others. It is the only document of its kind in the United States and did more to educate the public about Catholic abuse and cover up than all of Read More …