Judge Moore appeals dismissal to colleagues
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Deposed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has asked his former colleagues to reverse his removal from office.
Moore filed a notice of appeal Dec. 10 with the Alabama Supreme Court. In the appeal, he said he was merely complying with his oath to uphold the state and federal constitutions earlier this year when he defied a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had erected in the rotunda of the state judicial building.
Moore was removed from office in November by the state Court of the Judiciary, which said his refusal to abide by the state Supreme Court's order was a clear violation of the Alabama judicial ethics code.
Moore's action and the publicity surrounding it sparked a nationwide debate on government displays of religious documents.
Moore also asked the court's acting chief justice, Gorman Houston, to recuse himself from the case. Moore's attorneys said Houston's actions since Moore was removed from office have shown he is biased against his former colleague. (ABP)
Canadian Muslims move toward Sharia law
WASHINGTON — Canadian Muslims will soon have access to religious courts whose decisions the government will honor as legal and binding in some cases.
In October, leaders from various Islamic communities in Canada elected a 30-member commission that will work toward establishing a judicial tribunal, known as a Darul-Quda. The panel will eventually resolve disputes between Muslims using an ancient and complex code of Islamic law known as Sharia.
Recent changes in Canadian law will give the Sharia courts the authority to settle disputes with the force of civil law. For many years, Canadian Jews have been allowed to settle some interpersonal or commercial disputes in religious courts.
Although Islam requires its adherents to abide by the civil laws of the nation in which they live, it also requires Muslims to settle disputes with other Muslims according to the dictates of Sharia. (ABP)
Judge: School violated student's rights
DETROIT — A federal judge said Dec. 5 that a Michigan public school violated the U.S. Constitution in several ways by conducting an assembly on religious views of homosexuality.
In a strongly worded 70-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen said school officials in Ann Arbor violated student Elizabeth Hansen's freedom of speech and denied her equal protection of the laws by barring her from sharing her Catholic views on homosexuality during a March 2002 school assembly.
The assembly featured four Protestant ministers, a Jewish rabbi and a Presbyterian layperson speaking on religious views of homosexuality. All the speakers reportedly expressed positive views of homosexuality. Hansen wanted to express her view that homosexuality was wrong based on Catholic teaching.
The judge also ruled that the school violated the First Amendment's ban on government establishment of religion by offering a school assembly where only one religious viewpoint on homosexuality was offered. (ABP)
Islamic role-playing not illegal, judge says
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against a California school where 7th-grade teachers require students to participate in Islamic role-playing games.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in San Francisco granted the Byron, Calif., Unified School District's request to dismiss a lawsuit from the parents of two former 7th graders at Excelsior Middle School.
In a class unit on Islam and the Muslim world, the children's teachers required them to participate in role-playing games that included selecting a Muslim name and reciting a Muslim prayer.
Jonas and Tiffany Eklund, the children's parents, sued the school district, saying the activities forced the children to practice Islam, thus making it a violation of the First Amendment's ban on government promotion of religion.
But attorneys for the school district said the role-playing games reflected an accepted educational technique and did not amount to actual practice of Islam. Hamilton agreed, writing, “Objectively, the students at Excelsior cannot be considered to have performed any actual religious activities in their 7th-grade world history class.” (ABP)