Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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• A coercive contraceptive mandate imposes pro-abortion ideology on all with pro-life views.
• The gutting of the only federal conscience regulation in health care opens the door to discrimination.
• The denial of federal funds to a ministry, just for opposing abortions, threatens care for human trafficking victims.
• The administration's court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights minimizes religious liberty.
Firings, discrimination and coercion of life-honoring health care professionals imperil health care access.

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In the News

The next front in battle over gay rights

The Hill

July 5, 2015

"One of the first things that the pro-life movement did after Roe v. Wade was protect the right of conscience for all American citizens to never have to pay for an abortion or perform an abortion if it violated their beliefs," noted Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "So in the same way, the pro-marriage movement will need to protect our rights not to be coerced or discriminated against by the government into violating our belief that marriage is between a man and a woman."

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationLegislationHomosexuality

Video: Marriage at the Supreme Court

Heritage Foundation: R&C Severino, Anderson and Schaerr

July 2, 2015

"As a legal matter, the Constitution is not where [setting social policy] happens. The Constitution is completely agnostic as to how marriage is defined. The states have traditionally defined marriage law. The way this decision was reached undermines the ability to have that debate in the public sphere."

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Filed under: CourtsHeritage FoundationMarriage

The trouble with the 'dignity' of same-sex marriage

Washington Post commentary by Jonathan Turley

July 2, 2015

[Justice Kennedy found] the right of everyone to the “dignity” of marriage. The uncertain implications of that right should be a concern not just for conservatives but also for civil libertarians. [T]he use of a dignity right as a vehicle presents a new, unexpected element, since it may exist in tension with the right to free speech or free exercise of religion. Obergefell would be a tragic irony if it succeeded in finally closing the door on morality and speech codes only to introduce an equally ill-defined dignity code. Both involve majoritarian values, enforced by the government, regarding what is acceptable and protectable. Substituting compulsory morality with compulsory liberalism simply shifts the burden of coercive state power from one group to another.

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Filed under: Religious freedomFree speechHomosexuality

Love Wins...Or Else

First Things commentary by Andrew Walker

July 1, 2015

Notice what Kennedy says and does not say. He says the First Amendment is an excellent predicate for allowing one's beliefs to continue to be taught. Okay. But he gives no deference to that inconvenient clause of the First Amendment that insists upon the free exercise of religion, which signifies a lot more than simply the right to "teach" one's views in the abstract. Religious teaching, contra Kennedy, is doctrinal, of course. But if doctrine is worth anything, it's worth something because Christianity, along with all religions, believes its orthodoxy is personally and socially transformative.

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Filed under: CourtsConscience freedomMarriage

How to Preserve Religious Freedom After Supreme Court's Activist Decision on Marriage

Daily Signal commentary by Sarah Torre

July 1, 2015

Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies have been forced to close their doors, rather than abandon their commitment to placing children in homes with a married mother and father. Numerous photographers, florists, cake makers, farmers, and many others have been hauled into court or fined for simply declining to help plan or participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony. The First Amendment Defense Act, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and in the House by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against any individual, organization, school, or business because they acted in accordance with the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationMarriage

Four Harms the Court's Marriage Ruling Will Cause

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

July 1, 2015

Judicial activism causes harm. The Obergefell ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy will likely cause four distinct types of harm to the body politic. The ruling has already and will continue to cause harm to constitutional democratic self-government. Redefining marriage makes it more about the romantic desires of the consenting adults involved than about the needs or the rights of children involved in a relationship with their mother and father. When fundamental policy changes are made by court rulings that have no basis in the Constitution, it makes change harder to accept-because it casts doubt on the change itself. Most alarmingly, the majority opinion never discusses the free exercise of religion.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationMarriage

What Do We Do Now?

Daily Signal commentary by Jim DeMint and Ryan T. Anderson

July 1, 2015

We can't allow the judicial usurpation of politics to go uncontested. We have to commit now to bearing witness to the truth about marriage-a permanent and exclusive union of man and woman, husband and wife, father and mother-and work to restore our constitutional authority as citizens to make marriage policy that serves the common good by reflecting this truth. How do we do that? Here are five steps....

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationMarriage

Where's the line between a principled workplace and a biased one?

Washington Post commentary by Richard Doerflinger

July 1, 2015

(orig. pub. 6/24/15) The June 18 Metro article "House GOP targets D.C.'s reproductive-bias law" failed to note the law's unprecedented breadth, which led then-D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) and his general counsel to warn last year of legal and constitutional defects. The law protects employees who make any decision relating to "the planned or intended initiation or termination of a pregnancy." The law protects employees who make any decision relating to "the planned or intended initiation or termination of a pregnancy." So pro-life organizations must employ women who plan to have abortions, as well as men who perform abortions or tell colleagues they will encourage women to have them.

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Filed under: AbortionReligious freedomU.S. Conf. Catholic Bishops

Dissenting Obergefell Justices Sound Alarm On Religious Freedom

The Federalist commentary by Mollie Hemingway

June 30, 2015

[The First Amendment] actually guarantees freedom of religious expression, of which teaching the faith is but one small part. Or as the First Amendment puts it, Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. To pat the religious on the head and say, “you can kind of still teach, for now” while discovering a new constitutional right in deep conflict with those teachings is disconcerting, to put it mildly. Kennedy's muddled opinion included a total of one paragraph on the most contentious religious freedom issue of our time. Even that paragraph showed, as Thomas put it, a mistaken understanding of the First Amendment.

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedomFree speech

Penny Nance: Scott Walker's Push for Marriage Constitutional Amendment Exactly Right

Breitbart News

June 29, 2015

Penny Nance, the CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, is praising Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's push for a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court rulings that same-sex marriage is constitutional. "Scott Walker said it right in underscoring two points: 1) the only hope the states have of reversing this ruling is a Constitutional Amendment 2) increased conscience protections are all that stands between people of faith and job loss and discrimination," Nance said in a statement provided exclusively to Breitbart News. Walker, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling released on Friday, called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

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Filed under: MarriageConcerned Women for AmericaLegislation

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