On Friday August 2, 2013, the National Center for Life and Liberty filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Town of Greece, New York, where the town was sued for opening its town meetings in prayer. NCLL filed this brief on behalf of eight other county commissions and town councils who have had a practice of opening meetings with legislative prayer, and who have also been sued for violating the Establishment Clause and the legal principle of “separation of church and state.” The eight legislative bodies being represented by NCLL are the Board of Commissioners for Carroll County, Maryland; Board of Commissioners for Cobb County, Georgia; Board of Commissioners for Rowan County, North Carolina; City of Lakeland, Florida; County Commission for Franklin County, Missouri; Forsyth County, North Carolina, Board of Commissioners; Hamilton County, Tennessee, Board of Commissioners, and the Franklin Select Board, Franklin, Vermont.
Attorney David C. Gibbs III, attorney of record for NCLL’s Supreme Court amicus brief, said, “We believe it is unconstitutional to ban prayers in Jesus’ name at legislative meetings. Having judges or legislators censor any prayers violates hundreds of years of religious liberty and free expression in America.” Americans have offered prayers in Jesus’ name in legislative meetings for all the hundreds of years that America has existed as a nation.
The Supreme Court’s decision in the Town of Greece v. Galloway case will set the standard for legislative prayer for the entire nation. NCLL’s amicus brief argues that courts should view the legislative prayer opportunity from the point of view of the intent of the legislators, not the viewpoint of a few people who are offended by hearing the name of Jesus in a prayer.
NCLL’s position is the same position Sam Adams—Massachusetts patriot and organizer of the Boston Tea Party—took when faced with hearing a prayer from someone he disagreed with theologically at the First Continental Congress in 1774. Sam Adams said he “was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from [any] gentleman of piety and virtue, who was at the same time a friend to his country.” In fact, the prayer prayed that day in 1774 by Rev. Jacob Duché of Philadelphia ended in the name of Jesus and, therefore, some courts would ban a local legislator from even reading that prayer today. This is an outrageous legal outcome. Please join NCLL in praying that the Supreme Court will make the right decision in this case.
The National Center for Life and Liberty has offices in Dallas, Texas; St. Petersburg, Florida, and Washington D.C., with five Centers: the Center for Life Defense, the Center to Advance the USA, the Center for Church Liberty, the Center for Homeschool Liberty and the Center for Christian Education. NCLL’s website is www.ncll.org and its attorneys can be reached by telephone at 888-233-6255.
If America’s Founders were alive today—237 years after giving birth to the greatest nation ever, a nation they established to be governed under God’s Biblical principles—I think they would be devastated to see what has become of their dreams.
I imagine they would also be distressed to read the current headlines and listen to the calls and read the emails such as these that come into the offices of the National Center for Life and Liberty:
Public schools are where most Americans of the next generation are being educated, and the education of one generation leads to the governing principles of the next.
Imagine the horror of our Founders upon learning that babies were being brutally murdered in the very city in which they established Life as our nation’s first God-given right.
Our Founders believed that America’s First Freedom was the freedom of religion, a freedom they believed had to be protected from government intrusion. It was not their intent that faith be entirely eliminated from our public square.
Our Founders believed that God and government were partners, not enemies promoting a high wall of separation between the two.
Did you know that the Bible was the most quoted source for political commentary during America’s Founding Era, quoted more often by our Founders than any other source?
All American legislative meetings have opened in prayer, primarily prayer in Jesus’ Name, for all 237 years of our nation’s existence.
The first prayer at the Continental Congress in 1774 was offered “in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son and Our Savior. Amen.”
John Adams famously wrote to his wife Abigail that some delegates disagreed with the motion to open that 1774 meeting in prayer because the assembly was “divided in religious sentiments” and “could not join in the same set of worship.” But, John reports to Abigail that their cousin, Sam Adams, leader of the Boston Tea Party, “then rose and said, that he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue, [who was] at the same time a friend to his country.”
Imagine our Founders being horrified to learn that the same 1774 prayer would be declared unconstitutional by some judges if offered in a legislative meeting today.
My friends, these are the very reasons that the National Center for Life and Liberty works to “fight for what is right” and to “fight against what is wrong.”
If we do not stand against the anti-Christian forces rearing their heads in America today, we will not have the opportunity to stand tomorrow.
Did you know that two years before he died, Alexander Hamilton wrote to his friend, James Bayard, proposing the formation of a Christian society that would spread both Christianity and the principles of the Constitution?
My friends, the National Center for Life and Liberty is becoming one fulfillment of Hamilton’s dream by being an organization that stands for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.
My friends, we need your prayers and your financial support to fight these ongoing battles in our nation’s courts, in our schools, in our legislatures, and in our culture.
As America celebrates its 237th birthday, won’t you join with me and reach out today to help support the National Center for Life and Liberty?
Please send a generous gift in honor of our Founders and in support of the NCLL's work to preserve freedom for future generations.
On behalf of those we have the privilege of serving,
David Gibbs III
President and General Counsel
Admitted in Florida, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, the District of Columbia, many federal courts, and the United States Supreme Court.
Mrs. Lawson called the office of the Center for Homeschool Liberty on behalf of her daughter, who had just completed a rigorous, four-year high school program at home and was now applying to colleges.
The first college she applied to wouldn't take her application unless she could prove that she had taken the GED exam. After completing a high school curriculum that included calculus and advanced chemistry, Mrs. Lawson felt that having to take the GED would be a step backward for her daughter. Mrs. Lawson then called the Center for Homeschool Liberty to see if anything could be done.
We promptly contacted the school and heard their objections. Then, we pointed them to 20 U.S.C. § 1091(d) that reads as follows:
(d) Students who are not high school graduates:
In order for a student who does not have a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such certificate, to be eligible for any assistance under subparts 1, 3, and 4 of part A and parts B, C, and D of this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, the student shall have completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under State law.
Under this statute, if a student has completed a homeschool program that complies with state law—the student is eligible for federal financial aid. By analogy, if a homeschooled student is legally eligible for financial aid, her credentials should be given the same recognition in terms of school admissions. In general, admissions directors are receptive to this argument and have allowed the homeschooled student to attend.
What if a particular college asks for more information in order to assess the applicant? This may be reasonable under the law. In other words, a student with a B+ average in the homeschool who scores a 17 on the ACT test may arouse the admissions director's suspicion and she might require additional testing to bolster the student’s claim of a B+ academic average. Other schools might accept homeschool credentials without asking for further documentation at all. It all just depends on the college and its admissions processes.
If your young person is encountering difficulty during the college application process, at the Center for Homeschool Liberty we are happy to assist them. Admissions officers are generally receptive to our arguments, and we can help you resolve your admissions challenges.
Especially in the high school years, we encourage parents to keep descriptive, voluminous records. Even if you are not required to keep them, your diligence will pay off when it comes to college admission.
Can we serve you during the challenging and exciting time of seeking college admission? Please enroll in your free-first year membership today at www.NCLL.org with the coupon code GIFT13. It would be our honor to serve you!
Are you trying to decide how you will spend your time this summer? Summer is typically filled with many activities, but many often ask the question: "Is it a good idea to continue to do school during the summer?"
This question may be of legal significance for some families. To answer it, the answer depends on your state’s laws. At the Center for Homeschool Liberty, we want to make sure that you know your state’s attendance and record-keeping guidelines for homeschooling. If you are required, let’s say, to do school 180 days, you can choose when (and how) those days are spent. Twenty solid days of academics invested over the summer “count” as much as solid school days in winter. If you don’t know your state’s requirements, you can research them by clicking here to visit our website at NCLL.org.
Realistically, there are some years that, for a parent, the mere thought of more schooling is exhausting! But some families might thrive with a consistent schedule year round. Some might define that as six-to-nine weeks in a row broken-up by a two-week break. It is yet another blessing of homeschooling that we have the freedom to choose and schedule accordingly.
What are the advantages of either?
Keeping kids learning year-round can be helpful when:
Disadvantages of year-round education include:
If these ideas don’t resonate with you, how about finding middle ground? In our family, summer vacation has been a time of unlimited and unfettered reading. We might require a certain number of books to be read, but let the child choose the genre (with some guidance). We also did minimal math to keep the facts and skills sharp. Sometimes that was a workbook; sometimes it was a computer program. Each fall, the math muscle was still sharp and we were able to start the year strong.
Summer is also an excellent time to practice writing. Keeping a journal or scrapbook is a sort-of sneaky way to get your kids to practice this skill. A nature journal with sketches, a scrapbook of summer activities, or a self-produced book on a topic of choice (like Legos or Lord of the Rings) will be a treasured memento and a painless writing exercise.
From all of us at the Center for Homeschool Liberty—have a safe and happy summer!