Thursday, April 19, 2007

US evangelicals aim to influence European law

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

In Britain, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), an organization founded by American evangelical leaders, is funding a lawsuit brought by a Christian man who was fired for refusing to work on Sunday. It is also helping to develop the legal strategy.

• In Sweden, ADF played a key role in persuading the Supreme Court to dismiss charges against Ake Green, a pastor who was convicted of hate-crime charges after he delivered a sermon in which he called gays a "deep cancerous tumor in the entire society."
• In Aruba and the Czech Republic, Pat Robertson's legal organization, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), helped defeat bills that would have legalized same-sex unions.
• In France, ACLJ affiliate ECLJ (the European Center for Law and Justice), is staging a legal challenge against an antisect law that it says is being used to clamp down on evangelical Christian churches.
•And on the European Union level, ECLJ is lobbying to block funding for embryonic stem-cell research.
Why are American groups going to such lengths to shape the laws in other countries?
"We realized that if we didn't try to mold precedents abroad, they could come back to hurt us, and that the American legal system as we know might change," says Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for the ADF.

He notes that, for example, US judges have drawn on foreign precedents and international standards in several key cases, such as the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which legalized sodomy in the Lone Star State.
At the moment, IHRG and Schuzh are involved in more than a dozen home-schooling cases wending their way through the German court system and have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to hear several of them.

One of their top priorities is the case of the 15-year-old home-schooled girl Melissa Busekros. Her parents say that her classmates would mock her faith, kneeling in front of her with their hands pressed together in prayer and saying, "Hail Mary." (Though the Busekroses are evangelical Christians, the students in heavily Roman Catholic Bavaria didn't appear to recognize the distinction.) The last straw came when she started failing Latin and math, at which point her parents began home-schooling her.

After more than two years of trying to get Melissa back in school, state officials pulled her from her home in February and placed her in a psychiatric ward. The Erlangen youth-welfare office declined to comment on her case, but a psychological evaluation that the office ordered said Melissa was suffering from emotional problems, including "school phobia," and had to be removed from her home for [her] own well-being. She is now living with a foster family.

My emphasis. Read it here. Thanks to titusonenine for the link.

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