Protecting our first freedoms:
Faith, conscience and speech

Voice your values: Legislative action

Read: Faith Steps: How to winsomely engage on controversial public policy issues. 
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Helping people of faith to engage in public policy.

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It's time to restore the First Amendment and stop attacks on religious free exercise:

--Coercing health professionals and redefining sex discrimination: the 2016 HHS transgender mandate;
--Squelching First Amendment freedoms on campuses: barring campus faith expression;
--Forcing nuns to violate religious tenets: the Obamacare contraceptive mandate;
--Threatening pro-life doctors and health care access: the 2009 gutting of the federal conscience regulation;
--Denying federal human trafficking grants to pro-life programs for victims: HHS grant scandal;
--Forcing churches to participate in abortion through state insurance mandates to cover abortion;
--Government intrusion on churches' hiring freedom: Supreme Court Hosanna Tabor case;
--Firing and coercing life-honoring health care professionals and students: personal stories of discrimination.

Faith_Steps_Cover_for_KindleSMALL.jpgWatch the webcast discussion at Family Research Council on
Faith Steps: How to winsomely engage on controversial public policy issues. 

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In the News

What Happened to Colonel Who Didn't Want to Praise an Airman's Same-Sex Marriage

The Daily Signal commentary by Tony Perkins

November 16, 2017

"“His career is likely over,” First Liberty Institute’s Michael Berry told Fox News’ Todd Starnes, “and he will likely have to retire as a colonel instead of a general.” Berry, who’s representing Bohannon in the case, could only shake his head. “This sends a clear message—if you do not have the politically correct viewpoint, you are not welcome in the military. The military is no longer a place of diversity and inclusion if you are a person who holds to a traditional belief on marriage.” ... 

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilConscience freedomMilitaryFirst Liberty

SCOTUS to Hear Case of CA Pregnancy Centers Forced to Promote Abortion

November 13, 2017

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a major free speech case Monday that will address a 2015 California law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to "disseminate to clients" a message promoting public programs with "free or low-cost access" to abortion and contraceptive services. "It's unthinkable for the government to force anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry. This is especially true of pregnancy care centers, which exist to care for women who want to have their babies," commented Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal group representing the pregnancy centers. "The state shouldn't have the power to punish anyone for being pro-life," he added. "Instead, it should protect freedom of speech and freedom from coerced speech."

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Filed under: AbortionAlliance Defending FreedomFree speech

Michigan college changes speech policy after being sued by campus conservatives who praised fossil fuels

The Washington Post

November 10, 2017

"A Michigan college said it would change its speech policy Wednesday after a conservative campus group sued, saying it was silenced after praising fossil fuels. Macomb Community College (MCC) is a school of about 23,000 students in Warren, Mich., about 15 miles north of Detroit. In April, members of a campus chapter of Turning Point USA — a conservative organization whose website says it promotes “the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government” — wanted to tell students about the importance of fossil fuels ... Turning Point was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian legal organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It routinely advocates for conservative students in free-speech cases, working with campus Republicans in Illinois who claimed free speech was limited to “0.0013 percent” of the campus in a federal lawsuit last month, and representing two teenage antiabortion protesters who were confronted by an assistant principal outside Philadelphia earlier this year. In a pending Supreme Court case, the group also represents a baker in Denver who refused to sell a cake to a gay couple. The settlement came days after the Trump administration released a dire report linking human activity to climate change, and as appearances by conservatives and white nationalists such as Richard Spencer inflame college campuses. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Caleb Dalton said the Southern Poverty Law Center was “long discredited,” and that free speech on campus benefits everyone, no matter their politics. "

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending Freedom

Believers from different faiths rally around Colorado cake-baker before Supreme Court case

The Washington Times

November 10, 2017

"Masterpiece Cakeshop’s Jack Phillips may be an evangelical Christian, but he has a host of supporters from other faiths behind him as he takes his religious-freedom case next month to the Supreme Court. Leaders from the Catholic, Jewish and Mormon communities — as well as other evangelical small-business owners — came together Wednesday to offer their encouragement at a rally Wednesday at Colorado Christian University. Oral argument is scheduled Dec. 5 before the Supreme Court in the Masterpiece case, the first to be considered by the high court involving whether bakers, florists, filmmakers and other creative professionals who cater to weddings must serve same-sex ceremonies."

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedom

Bill Would Protect Pro-Life Nurses Like These 3 Women

The Daily Signal

November 9, 2017

"Pro-life members of Congress have introduced legislation to protect health care providers from being compelled to provide abortions under threat of losing their jobs. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., held a press conference on the House Triangle outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to promote the Conscience Protection Act. The bill is designed to “end discrimination against people, [insurance] plans and providers for choosing not to be involved in abortion,” according to a statement from Smith. “Health care, my friends, is about saving lives,” Smith said. 'It is about eradicating disease. It’s about mitigating disabilities, not taking the lives of unborn children. At the very least, health care providers should have the right not to be coerced into facilitating abortion.' "

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Filed under: Religious freedomConscience freedom

House GOP's Tax Reform Plan a Boost for Families, Free Speech says Family Research Council

Family Research Council news release

November 9, 2017

Family Research Council praised the GOP's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) approved today by the House Ways and Means Committee - a bill that increases the child tax credit, expands education savings accounts to include unborn children, provides for free speech fairness for all nonprofits including churches and faith based groups, removes most marriage penalties and includes an adoption tax credit. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, "In a victory for free speech, this bill includes Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Jody Hice's Free Speech Fairness Act which puts an end to the IRS's role of policing the speech of churches, and non-profit organizations. The IRS has no constitutional basis to monitor and then censor speech that doesn't meet with the approval of government bureaucrats."

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilFree speech

Christian Student Group Called 'Hate Group' by LGBT Students, Forced to Defend Itself in Hearing

The Daily Signal

November 8, 2017

"A traditional marriage student group defended its right to exist at a Catholic university Thursday after LGBT students claimed it was a hate group. The student members of Love Saxa, a Georgetown University group that promotes healthy relationships through traditional marriage and premarital abstinence, defended themselves in a mandatory hearing against the complaints of two students, Justin Gasman, the president of GUPride, and Jasmin Ouseph, who claimed that Love Saxa promotes hostility toward LGBT individuals by promoting a view of marriage in line with Catholic doctrine."

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Filed under: Religious freedom

Conscience Protection Act: 3 Ways to #standwithnurses

USCCB

November 8, 2017

"Watch our short video about Cathy, a New York City nurse who was forced to participate in an abortion against her deeply-held beliefs. "

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Filed under: VideoU.S. Conf. Catholic BishopsConscience freedom

Michigan college changes speech policy after being sued by campus conservatives who praised fossil fuels

Washington Post

November 8, 2017

A Michigan college said it would change its speech policy Wednesday after a conservative campus group sued, saying it was silenced after praising fossil fuels. Macomb Community College (MCC) is a school of about 23,000 students in Warren, Mich., about 15 miles north of Detroit. In April, members of a campus chapter of Turning Point USA - a conservative organization whose website says it promotes "the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government" - wanted to tell students about the importance of fossil fuels. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Caleb Dalton said, "We believe that free speech is for everybody, whether you agree or oppose our beliefs. Free speech on campus is a no-brainer. The only permit you need is the First Amendment."

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Filed under: Alliance Defending FreedomFree speechEducation

Will Anti-Religious Military Policies Under Obama Change With Trump, Mattis?

The Stream

November 3, 2017

"Spiritual fitness is just as important as physical fitness in the military, says First Liberty's Deputy General Counsel and Director of Military Affairs. Religious hostility in the military is nothing new. But we’re seeing more of it, said First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel and Director of Military Affairs Mike Berry. In an interview with The Stream, Berry said he hopes that this will change under President Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. “This shouldn’t be something novel or new, this concept of promoting religious freedom within the military,” Berry explained. The Congress that established the Continental Army expected we would have “a healthy respect and promotion of religious freedom.” That has continued through the years. Religious freedom attacks have been rejected because the nation and its leaders understood that troops should be spiritually fit as they were physically fit. He believes we’ve lost sight of that in recent years. "

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Filed under: Religious freedomMilitaryFirst Liberty

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