SACRAMENTO, CA -- As we look back on 2009, the Pacific Justice Institute recalls ten of the worst attacks on faith, family and freedom we encountered this year.
1) Atheist Michael Newdow went to federal court seeking to stop prayers at President Obama's inauguration, and the use of "So help me God" in the presidential oath. PJI successfully represented defendants Drs. Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery, Jr., in getting the suit dismissed. It is now on appeal.
2) A school board in Alameda, California, turned a deaf ear to hundreds of parents and adopted a curriculum that pushed acceptance of homosexuality to students beginning in early elementary grades. After the school district then rejected parents' attempts to opt out of the curriculum, PJI filed suit.
3) A church appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge in San Francisco decided that the church had grown too much and should split into smaller congregations, rather than turning a vacant building into a worship center. PJI represents the church.
4) Atheists asked a federal appeals court to ban the use of memorial crosses to mark spots along Utah highways where officers were killed in the line of duty. PJI filed an amicus brief opposing the atheists.
6) The Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened city councils in California and elsewhere over traditional invocations at meetings. PJI sent legal opinion letters to several city councils offering advice as to how they could constitutionally continue their invocations.
7) A school district in Castro Valley, California, refused to provide information to parents about a talk given by a lesbian minister to math and science classes. PJI filed suit on the parents' behalf.
8) A school district in Oakley, California, stopped a second-grader from performing sign language in a talent show because her chosen song had Christian lyrics.
9) Pres. Obama signed a controversial federal hate crimes bill into law. The bill prioritizes crimes based on sexual orientation over crimes against the elderly. It also could be used by overzealous prosecutors to intimidate and punish pastors who preach against immorality.