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Friday, May 30, 2014
WND's Unruh Links To, But Does Not Quote From, Court Ruling He Disagrees With
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh uses a May 23 WorldNetDaily article to crank out one of his one-sided specials, this time regarding the case of a police captain ordered to attend an "Islamic mosque where Muslims 'discussed Islamic beliefs, Muhammad, Mecca, and why and how Muslims pray' in addition to encouraging officers 'to buy' Islamic books and pamphlets that were for sale."

Unruh links to the judge's ruling in the case but, curiously, does not directly quote from it anywhere in his artice. Instead, much of the article is dedicated to bashing the ruling andtelling the case from the side of the plaintiff and his attorneys at the right-wing American Freedom Law Center.

As such, Unruh's readers don't get to read the reason that Capt. Paul Fields' lawsuit was dismissed in the full words of the judge who dismissed it:

First, the Attendance Order did not burden Fields’s religious rights because it did not require him to violate his personal religious beliefs by attending the event; he could have obeyed the order by ordering others to attend, and he has not contended on appeal that he had informed his supervisors that doing so would have violated his religious beliefs. Second, the order did not violate the Establishment Clause because no informed, reasonable observer would have perceived the order or the event as a government endorsement of Islam. Third, the order did not burden Fields’s right of association because it did not interfere with his right to decide what organizations to join as a member. Fourth, Fields’s equal-protection claim duplicates his free-exercise claim and fails for the same reason. And fifth, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Fields’s motion to amend the complaint to add ORFA and free-speech retaliation claims because the amendment would have been futile. He has provided no reason why his ORFA claim could succeed when his religion claims under the First Amendment do not. And his retaliation claim would fail because the interests of the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) as an employer outweighed Fields’s free-speech interests in filing his suit.

[...]

Because the Attendance Order did not violate Fields’s right to the free exercise of religion, TPD could lawfully punish him for violating it. An invalid religious objection to an order that does not burden your free exercise of religion does not immunize you from punishment for violation of the order.

The judge also shot down AFLC's (and, thus, Unruh's) suggestion that the event was solely about prostelyzation. In fact, the mosque was hosting a law-enforcement appreciation event:

No informed reasonable person could view the purpose or effect of TPD’s attendance at the event as suggesting that Islam is a preferred religion. Officers attending the event were not required to attend a religious service (and the timing of visits ensured that no officer would be required to be there during a service), read Islamic literature, or even discuss Islam. Those who wished to learn more about Islam could do so. The Establishment Clause does not prohibit governmental efforts to promote tolerance, understanding, and neighborliness. There is no evidence in the record of any attempts to convert officers to Islam, as opposed to providing information. And in any event, if perhaps some representatives of the Center crossed the line, there is nothing that would suggest to a reasonable observer that such conduct had received governmental endorsement.

But since Unruh is such a lazy and biased reporter -- and WND is paying him for that laziness and bias -- his readers won't know the full truth about this case.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 30, 2014 12:48 AM EDT

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