Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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

--Coercing health professionals to comply with transgender ideology: the 2016 HHS transgender mandate;
--Forcing nuns to make moral compromises: 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 organizations: HHS grant scandal;
--Elevating state over church: Supreme Court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights;
--Firing and coercing life-honoring health care professionals: personal stories of discrimination.

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Tell how you have experienced discrimination as a health professional regarding abortion, assisted suicide, transgender issues and other matters of medical judgment and conscience.

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Faith Steps: How to winsomely engage on controversial public policy issues. 

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In the News

Trump stance on religious liberty leaves social conservatives nervous

Washington Times

February 19, 2017

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, called on Mr. Trump to "get moving on religious liberty. The issue of religious liberty is one of the most important for people of faith, who happen to be the key voting [bloc] most responsible for electing Donald Trump as president," Mr. Brown wrote in a letter to supporters last week. "Evangelicals voted over 80 percent for Mr. Trump, and Catholics went for him by 52 percent. Now it's time for the administration to act to protect people of faith from being discriminated against because of their faith." The primary source of frustration for the religious right is Mr. Trump's inaction on former President Obama's executive order requiring some religious groups, including charities and relief organizations, not to discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity in order to receive federal contracts. A draft of an executive order repealing that mandate circulated in the media and immediately drew the ire of the LGBT movement. Politico reported the repeal effort was squashed by the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.

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Filed under: MarriageHomosexualityGender

The State of Religious Liberty in America

House Judiciary Committee hearing - video

February 16, 2017

Witnesses: 

  • Kim Colby, Director Chrisitan Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom 
  • Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel, Becket Law
  • Rabbi David Saperstein 
  • Casey Mattox, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom's Center for Academic Freedom

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Filed under: Alliance Defending FreedomBecket LawChristian Legal Society

What Trump can do to secure religious freedom

The Hill commentary by Thomas Farr

February 15, 2017

s a candidate, Donald Trump said very little publicly about rising threats to religious freedom abroad. But recent reports suggest that President Trump may be moving quickly to nominate the official charged by law to lead that element of United States foreign policy: the ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom. Given that President George W. Bush took well over a year to get his nominee in place, and President Barack Obama took more than two, it appears that Trump may be placing a higher priority on international religious freedom than his predecessors. He has ample reason to do so. Studies show that religious freedom can make substantial contributions to democratic stability, economic growth and the undermining of religious violence and terrorism. Unfortunately, studies also show that religious freedom is in global decline, while religious persecution and terrorism are spreading.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomPersecution

How faith-based organizations are transforming our nation's incarceration system

Washington Examiner commentary by Steven Hawkins

February 15, 2017

This same belief in the power of faith drives some of the country's most remarkable rehabilitation programs. Faith affirms the dignity and significance inherent in all human life, but especially to lives that society marginalizes. Prison Fellowship reports that, in multiple instances, participation in their Bible studies reduced recidivism by 66 percent. Similarly, a 2003 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that re-arrest was far less common after prisoners completed an Inner-Change Freedom Initiative program, a faith-based re-entry program spanning incarceration and release.

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Filed under: Religious freedom

Free Indeed: The Biblical View of Freedom and its Economic, Political and Religious Implications

FRC Mar. 7 presentation by Art Lindsley

February 15, 2017

The Christian ideal state of living includes more than just an experience of inner freedom, it involves an external effort to promote the freedom and flourishing of others. In his talk, theologian and author Dr. Art Lindsley will explain the biblical view of freedom and how it differentiates from other secular views. He will further discuss the societal implications of the biblical view of freedom on the political, economic, and religious spheres. In particular, he will explain how free market principles of private property, limited government, and the freedom to innovate are grounded in biblical freedom. Dr. Lindsley will challenge those who adhere to these biblical values to follow their external implications and work toward a flourishing society. Click here to Register for this event

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilFree speech

How to Think About Discrimination: Race, Sex, and SOGI

Witherspoon Institute commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

February 14, 2017

In a new report for the Heritage Foundation, "How to Think About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Policies and Religious Freedom," I argue that current proposals to create new LGBT protections with varying types of religious exemptions will not result in what advocates claim is "Fairness for All." Instead, they will penalize many Americans who believe that we are created male and female and that male and female are created for each other-convictions that the Supreme Court of the United States, in Obergefell v. Hodges, recognized are held "in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world." As I explain in the report, current SOGI laws, including "Fairness for All," lack the nuance and specificity necessary for cases they seek to address. They take the existing paradigm of public policy responses to racism and sexism and assume that this paradigm is appropriate for the policy needs of people who identify as LGBT. This is misguided for both conceptual and practical reasons.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationHomosexualityGender

RSC Members Highlight Community Benefits of Faith-Based Organizations

RSC America Without Faith project

February 14, 2017

What would a portrait of America look like, if we were a nation without faith? On a cold winter night, would there be enough warm beds to shelter the men, women, and children suffering from homelessness? The Republican Study Committee's America Without Faith project aims to shine a spotlight on this essential knowledge base for Members of Congress and the American public. RSC Members from across the country are telling the stories of faith-based groups in action:

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Filed under: Religious freedom

Free pastors from the Johnson Amendment

RNS commentary by Tony Perkins

February 9, 2017

In essence, the Johnson Amendment prohibits tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations from engaging or speaking on matters related to political campaigns. In 1954, then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson wanted to weaken organizations politically opposed to him - so he conditioned all such organizations' tax-exempt status on their remaining silent in political matters. Since that time, the amendment has been used to muzzle anything remotely perceived as political speech from tax-exempt organizations, religious and nonreligious, on both sides of the aisle. This overly broad muzzling has included comments of pastors speaking from the pulpit about candidates as well as policy matters. Simply put, the Johnson Amendment has been used to censor speech - something that should never have occurred.

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilFree speech

Why Religious Freedom Matters

Luke Goodrich, Becket Law

February 3, 2017

"First, religious freedom matters because it benefits society. It allows religion to flourish, which produces moral virtue that is necessary for self-government. It also produces good works that benefit all of society. It also protects the right of minorites to dissent from the majority view. And it reduces social conflict." This speech was given by Becket Law Senior Counsel, Luke Goodrich, at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law's Religion and Law Symposium on Saturday March 12, 2016.

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Filed under: AudiovisualsReligious freedomBecket Law

No, Religious Liberty Won't Yank Health Care From Trans And Post-Abortive People

The Federalist commentary by "Joseph Turner"

February 3, 2017

By Mark Joseph Stern's Slate account, the ACA regulation in question merely "forbade doctors from discriminating against transgender patients or women who've previously had abortions." He mocks O'Connor for defining "sex" as a binary biological reality. He asserts: "[U.S. District Court Judge Reed] O'Connor held that treating transgender patients-and even insuring transgender patients-‘substantially burdens' insurance companies and hospitals' ‘exercise of religion.'" After reading these accounts, one might find the actual text of O'Connor's order rather anticlimactic. The first thing they might notice is that the decision is clearly, unmistakably focused on protecting religious objectors from performing or supporting sex changes and abortions. That's it. What you won't find anywhere in the order's 46 pages is any mention, or even the slightest hint of a suggestion, that the ruling is intended to allow doctors to refuse treatment to patients for no other reason than because they identify as trans or have had abortions. 

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationBecket LawGender

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