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

In Illinois, Bishops and Pro-Life Groups Differ on ACLU Conscience Bill

National Catholic Register

May 13, 2015

Anna Paprocki, staff counsel for Americans United for Life and an Illinois resident, said S.B. 1564's suggested protocols turn the state's existing conscience protections into "a false promise. You can have a conscientious objection to abortion, but you still have to tell patients about abortion and the so-called benefits of abortion," she said. Paprocki explained that the consensus among pro-life organizations is that the law's requirements would involve pro-life health professionals and facilities promoting abortion by giving such information. "You have to reasonably believe that these people may perform abortions when you give out this information," she said. "So now we're asking crisis-pregnancy centers to hand out information on places they reasonably believe will perform abortions, and that violates their consciences and violates the core mission of crisis-pregnancy centers."

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Filed under: Americans United for LifeConscience freedomLegislation

The Silencing--How the Left is killing free speech

Daily Beast

May 11, 2015

On today's campuses, left-leaning administrators, professors, and students are working overtime in their campaign of silencing dissent, and their unofficial tactics of ostracizing, smearing, and humiliation are highly effective. But what is even more chilling-and more far reaching-is the official power they abuse to ensure the silencing of views they don't like. They've invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools that include "speech codes," "free speech zones," censorship, investigations by campus "diversity and tolerance offices," and denial of due process. They craft "anti-harassment policies" and "anti-violence policies" that are speech codes in disguise. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's (FIRE) 2014 report on campus free speech, "Spotlight on Speech Codes," close to 60 percent of the four hundred-plus colleges they surveyed "seriously infringe upon the free speech rights of students."

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Filed under: CommentariesFree speech

Jindal: Hillary thinks religious liberty only applies in a church


May 9, 2015

This is about the power of the state to to close or fine Christian business owners, this is about the left trying to silence us and telling us we don't have a right to live our lives according to our sincerely held beliefs. When Secretary Clinton, when President Obama say, ‘you've got the freedom of religious expression,' to them, that just means you get to go to church and say what you want inside church. That's not religious liberty. Religious liberty is the ability to live our lives according to our faith 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

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Filed under: Religious freedomFree speech

Jeb Bush Casts Wide Net on Religious Liberty in Address


May 9, 2015

"I'm betting that when it comes to doing the right and good thing, the Little Sisters of the Poor know better than the regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services," Bush said. "From the standpoint of religious freedom, you might even say it's a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother - and I'm going with the Little Sisters." But even as he struck the conservative chords on religious freedom, Bush sought to position himself as a social conservative capable of reaching out to those of all beliefs. Bush declared that "some moral standards are universal" and can't be shifted by public opinion, referencing his opposition to abortion and his efforts to keep Terri Schiavo alive, as well as the need to fight sex trafficking and stand up for oppressed minorities.

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Filed under: Religious freedomContraception

Judicial Activism on Marriage, Like Abortion, Can Cause Harms

The Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

May 1, 2015

On the rights of conscience, by unilaterally creating a "right" to abortion, the Court created a situation where for the past 40 years abortion funding has been a constant source of religious liberty concerns-most recently with the coercive Department of Health and Human Services mandate. Why would the Court want to repeat these mistakes now on marriage? After all, there simply is nothing in the Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Whatever people may think about marriage as a policy matter, everyone should be able to recognize the Constitution does not settle this question. Unelected judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and then say the Constitution requires them everywhere.

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Filed under: CourtsHeritage FoundationMarriage

House votes to overturn DC's reproductive health law

The Hill

April 30, 2015

The House voted late Thursday night to overturn the District of Columbia's law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on reproductive health choices. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) sponsored the disapproval resolution in the House, while 2016 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a companion measure in the Senate. Republicans maintained the disapproval resolution would ensure religious employers' First Amendment rights are protected. "This is not a war on women. It is an outright war on religious liberties," said Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.).

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Filed under: AbortionReligious freedomLegislation

America was 'Founded on the Principle of Religious Freedom'

Speaker John Boehner news release

April 30, 2015

"America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, and faith-based employers deserve the ability to hire people who share their beliefs. The measure passed by the D.C. Council, however, discriminates against religious and pro-life Americans, violates their conscience rights, and runs completely counter to the ‘free exercise' clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. As a proud pro-life Catholic, I condemn this form of discrimination and urge the president to reconsider his veto threat of our joint resolution."

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Filed under: Religious freedomCongressLegislation

The many voices before the Supreme Court on marriage

Washington Examiner commentary by Kerri Kupec

April 30, 2015

That question of knowing one's parent plays a significant, yet under-the-radar, role in the marriage cases before the Supreme Court. Among others, two women, Heather Barwick and Katy Faust, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in which they discuss their experiences as children raised by women in same-sex relationships who felt deprived of their fathers. Katy expanded on this theme in a recent piece she penned titled, "Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent."

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Filed under: CourtsAlliance Defending FreedomMarriage

In-Depth: Key Questions and Remarks From the Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Marriage

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

April 29, 2015

Nowhere are the consequences of redefining marriage clearer than with religious liberty. And yet the Obama administration's Solicitor General Donald Verrilli admitted that religious schools that affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman may lose their non-profit tax-exempt status if marriage is redefined. Alito asked Verrilli whether a religious school that believed marriage was the union of husband and wife would lose their non-profit tax status. The solicitor general answered: "It's certainly going to be an issue. I don't deny that. I don't deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue."

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationMarriageEducation

House Will Vote on Bill to Stop D.C. From Forcing Pro-Life Groups to Hire Abortion Activists

Life News

April 29, 2015

Should pro-life organizations be forced to hire pro-abortion employees? That's the question the House of Representatives will answer on Friday when it votes on a resolution to condemn a measure the District of Columbia City Council approved. A top pro-life advocate in Washington provides more background on what's happened and how RHNDA abrogates the rights of pro-life groups. "RHNDA was adopted by the D.C. City Council late last year and transmitted to Congress on March 6 for a Congressional review period of 30 legislative days. The law will be enacted at the expiration of the 30 day period unless a joint resolution of disapproval is enacted. On April 21 H.J. Res. 43 was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a party line vote of 20-16," says Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations for the Christian Medical Association.

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Filed under: AbortionChristian Medical AssociationLegislation

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