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Silenced Tennessee Pastor Fights Back for Unborn

Pastor Mark Carr is pushing back against the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (TDCS) and its attempts to shut down his website chastizing the department for effectively facilitating an out-of-state abortion for a 13-year-old teen from Sevier County against parental wishes.

TDCS had previously removed the teen and her three siblings from their parents’ custody. After the teen’s caregiver made provisions for her to receive an abortion in Atlanta, pastor Carr developed his “Johnathan’s Law” website in honor of the aborted child, who was aborted at 21 weeks. TDCS filed a motion in the Sevier County Juvenile Court asking that the website be taken down leading Carr’s attorney to file a “Notice of Removal” in federal court asking it to take the case from the Juvenile Court and block the TDCS attempt to violate his First Amendment rights to free speech.

“We are working to get laws passed to prohibit something like this from ever happening again,” the “Johnathan’s Law” website reads. “We believe no 13-year-old girl should be taken to another state to murder a baby when that murder is illegal in Tennessee. Those that do these things need to be exposed and brought to justice.”

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Tennessee Supreme Court Avoids Constitutional Showdown for Now

Last Friday, the Tennessee Supreme Court rejected an application for permission to appeal a decision by the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Middle Division, upholding the dismissal of a lawsuit by pastors and citizens challenging actions taken by Williamson County’s Clerk subsequent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges.

FACT President David Fowler, counsel for the plaintiffs, said that neither the Tennessee Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal nor the decision of the appellate court resolved the constitutional questions his clients had tried to raise. That question, Mr. Fowler said, was whether the federal courts’ judicial power includes the power to order state officials to take actions not authorized by state law and, in fact, forbidden by the state constitution.

“The appellate court,” Mr. Fowler said, “only held that the pastors and citizens did not have standing to make the particular claims they asserted.” He noted that a similar case filed in Bradley County was not dismissed and is currently pending before Judge Mike Pemberton.

Mr. Fowler also said he has been working with lawyers on a new lawsuit that would present different claims that came to light during the existing litigation. He said it would be far harder for a Tennessee judge not to hear these claims.

NOTE: FACT provides links to external websites for educational purposes only. The inclusion of any links to other websites does not necessarily constitute an endorsement.

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Middle Tennessee Pastors Appreciation Luncheon

Next Tuesday, October 23, the Bott Radio Network, on whose stations The Family Action Council of Tennessee’s FACT Report is heard, is hosting its first-ever Middle Tennessee Pastor’s Appreciation luncheon. The free luncheon for pastors (and other ministers on staff with a local church) will be at Judson Baptist Church, 4900 Franklin Road, Nashville. It will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and FACT’s president, David Fowler, will be the keynote speaker, bringing encouraging remarks drawn from 1 Corinthians, Chapters 1 and 2. If you are not on staff with a church, share this invitation with those you know who are. Registration and additional event information are at this link.

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‘Transgender’ Competes and Wins Women’s Cycling Competition

A biological male identifying as a “transgender” female won the gold medal in a women’s cycling championship this past weekend. Rachel McKinnon, a philosophy professor from Canada, won the women’s 35-39 age division at the 2018 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles.

Is it fair that a biological male is allowed to not only compete against women but be awarded a prize for beating them? McKinnon seems to think so. Back in January, McKinnon told USA Today that “focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue.” McKinnon even went so far as to compare “transgender” athletics to racial segregation. “When it comes to extending rights to a minority population, why would we ask the majority? I bet a lot of white people were pissed off when we desegregated sports racially and allowed black people. But they had to deal with it.”

Rick Moran of the American Conservative does an excellent job of summing up this concept that athletic competition should be all about rights: “In other words,” Moran writes, “sports is not really about competition. It should be a demonstration of our tolerance for those who demand the freedom to identify as the opposite sex. If this freedom results in a radically unfair competitive advantage for men, well, too bad.”

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DOE Investigates Georgia School Bathroom Sexual Assault Case

The Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education is now investigating an alleged sexual assault case between a 5-year-old girl and a “gender fluid” male classmate in an Oakhurst Elementary School bathroom in Decatur, Georgia.

The school instituted a policy allowing male students to enter the girls’ restroom, following President Obama’s Title IX guidance letter to schools in May 2016 threatening to defund any schools that didn’t embrace a “transgender” bathroom policy. Parents were unaware of the change until Decatur Schools Superintendent David Dude made it known in a February 2017 Facebook post. Though President Trump reversed the Obama guidance letter, Dude decided to keep the “transgender” bathroom policy in place.

Pascha Thomas learned of her daughter’s alleged sexual assault days after it happened when her daughter complained of experiencing female pain and told her the whole story. Pascha told school officials the following day. Information was then relayed to the Decatur Police Department. Pascha heard nothing from school officials for weeks. So far, the school has refused to investigate the claim.

The state’s Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) did finally contact Pascha but only investigated Pascha and her daughter, not the boy who allegedly assaulted the girl. Christiana Holcomb of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Pascha, said, “I’m not sure why they’re [DFCS] discounting her account of this assault other than that it is contrary to the narrative that they want to push about the transgender restroom policies.”

Pascha has since moved her traumatized daughter to another school to hopefully avoid this scenario again.

As an aside, the Education and Judiciary Committees in the Tennessee Senate have, for the last three years, sat by silently and refused even to allow discussion on legislation that would help prevent this situation in Tennessee.

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