• 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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Religious freedom is more than allowing diverse religions to coexist and the opportunity to attend church. It's the ability to act on the convictions of your faith. But today, people of faith are being censored and facing demands to violate their conscience. You should never be forced by the government to act in a way that is morally wrong, and Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting to ensure that you are free to live according to your faith. These are the stories of the men and women who, regardless of the consequences, chose to follow their conscience.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, under questioning by Sen. Mike Lee: "We would issue a regulation...for public comment. There would be no surprises. In other words, we're not sneaking up on anybody. Down the road, if the IRS ever moves in that direction...it would first issue a draft regulation. And that's not going to happen in the next two-and-a-half years."
During an information session for students last week that was streamed live online, Paul Chelsen, Wheaton's vice president of student development, said he regretted the last-minute decision and the hardship it brings. "What has brought us here is about student health insurance, but it's bigger than student health insurance," Chelsen said. "What really breaks my heart is that there are real people that are affected by our decision. But if we don't win this case, the implications down the road in terms of what the government will tell us what we can and cannot do will be potentially more significant.
As recently as 1993, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by a nearly unanimous Congress and signed by a Democratic president. Today, the same value is a political liability. Bakers, photographers, and florists are being ruined, adoption agencies shuttered, schools threatened with loss of accreditation and nonprofit status. So what happened? Why is religious liberty now losing so much ground? As I explain in my just-released book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, three historical developments explain our current predicament: a change in the scope of our government, a change in our sexual values, and a change in our political leaders’ vision of religious liberty. An adequate response will need to address each of these changes.
To ensure that Americans have as much freedom after the redefinition of marriage as they did before, the law should prohibit government discrimination against those who dissent from the conclusion of five justices in Obergefell v. Hodges. During oral arguments in the case, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli made clear that the nonprofit tax status of religious schools would be at risk if the Court decided to redefine marriage. Within days of the Obergefell decision, a New York Times columnist writing in TIME suggested that religious organizations who do not get in line with the new public policy should lose their nonprofit tax status.
If enacted into law, the Equality Act would further erode religious liberty, transform public opinion on sexuality, and harm the public perception of those who believe in traditional or biblical sexual morality. The bill would create federal anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, education, employment, and housing. To do so, it would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as protected classes (SOGI). In short, the Equality Act would offer the same types of protections extended to other groups (on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin) protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"Public officials should not be allowed to run roughshod over the right of the people to decide these types of issues, especially when the citizens of Houston clearly met all the qualifications for having their voice heard," Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley said in a statement. "The scandal began when the city arbitrarily threw out the valid signatures of thousands of voters. The city did this all because it was bent on pushing through its deeply unpopular ordinance at any cost."
The Washington, D.C.-based Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, which joined in the representation of the plaintiffs, called the decision unfortunate. "The government has no business punishing citizens solely because of their religious beliefs," the group's deputy general counsel, Luke Goodrich, said in a news release. "The pharmacists in this case willingly refer patients to over 30 pharmacies that stock the morning-after pill within a 5 mile radius, and no patient has ever been denied timely access to any drug."
Because now the most prestigious secular organ of American society-the Court that helped make Martin Luther King's dream a reality-stands for the propositions that deep emotional union makes a marriage, and that mothers and fathers are perfectly replaceable; indeed, that it "demeans" and "stigmatizes" people to think otherwise. Will a boy and girl who grow up absorbing these ideas feel more or less need to marry before having children? Once married, will they be more or less likely to stay together even when desire fades or wanders, so that their kids can know their father's and mother's love?
Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced that—despite losing repeatedly at the U.S. Supreme Court—it would continue trying to force religious nonprofits like the Little Sisters of the Poor to help distribute contraceptives, including the “week-after pill.” Today’s announcement comes after multiple losses in contraceptive mandate cases at the Supreme Court, including last year’s Hobby Lobby decision and Court decisions regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor and Wheaton College. "The government keeps digging the hole deeper," said Adèle Auxier Keim, Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.