Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Supreme Court To Decide If The Govt. Can Dictate Message Of Christian Ministry

World Net Daily

The Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether the government can dictate the message of a Christian ministry. And a brief submitted along with the question cites a page of biblical references as authority, listing them even ahead of the U.S. Constitution, statutes and previous case law.

The idea of a forced message is among the issues that are being raised in the case involving the ministry of Daniel Chapter One, which has gone to the high court to protest the actions of the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration.

The case is set for a conference before the high court on May 19, a meeting at which the justices could decide to hear oral arguments on the challenge to the government.

The core of the dispute involves the government's allegations that the ministry, which advocates for herbal and natural remedies rather than using "toxic pharmaceuticals," made promises of cures from its treatments.

The FTC's own adjudication process earlier decided that the FTC was right in attacking the organization, trying to impose massive fines and then ordering the ministry, at its own expense, to tell all of its customers that the "toxic pharmaceuticals" were the only "scientifically proven" remedies.

The original petition for certiorari was filed several weeks ago, but a new filing today includes an amicus brief from two organizations that advocate on behalf of civil and religious rights. It raises specifically the question of government-ordered messages.

"The FTC should not be allowed to force petitioners to deliver the government's message with which they disagree," said the filing by the Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund and the United States Justice Foundation.

"'For to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions with which he disagrees is sinful and tyrannical.' Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (1785), reprinted in 4 The Founders Constitution 84 (P. Kurland & R. Lerger, eds.: Liberty Press: 1987)," the brief cites. "This principle of 'speaker autonomy' – the right 'to choose the content of his own message' – is a 'fundamental rule of protection under the First Amendment," it said.

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