Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Recent assaults on our freedoms:

--a federal regulation forcing health professionals to comply with transgender ideology or lose funding;
--a coercive contraceptive mandate;
--the gutting of the only federal conscience regulation in health care;
--the denial of federal funds to a ministry because it opposes abortions;
--the administration's court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights;
--forcing health professionals to participate in sex reassignment procedures and abortion;
--firings, discrimination and coercion of life-honoring health care professionals.

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Tell how you are impacted by the new regulation on transgender ideology, or how you have experienced discrimination in healthcare because of your conscience and convictions.

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

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In the News

FRC Withdraws Support for Bill to Protect Gay Marriage Opponents' Religious Freedom

Christian Post

July 14, 2016

"Unfortunately, the proposed language of FADA was changed late last week by bill sponsors in response to criticism to make it protect the view that marriage is the union of 'two individuals of the same sex' as well as the view that it is 'two individuals of the opposite sex,' the statement reads. "The hearing made clear that this 'two views' approach has done nothing to mitigate opposition to or win support for FADA. Members of Congress should not be asked to implicitly affirm the Supreme Court's illegitimate decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in order to protect religious liberty or conscience rights, a message that was clearly articulated in the GOP platform this week," the FRC statement asserted. "Because of the weakened language of the bill, FRC has reluctantly withdrawn its support for FADA."

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilMarriageLegislation

Congress, we must protect Americans who disagree with abortion

FOX News commentary by Rep. Vicky Hartzler

July 14, 2016

Currently, the only recourse against this discrimination is to file a complaint with OCR. In light of its extremely slow response to straightforward complaints or its outright refusal to execute the law, something had to be done. The House this week passed the Conscience Protection Act, a bill I proudly co-sponsored. This bill stops the federal government, and any state or local government that receives Federal funds from penalizing, retaliating against, or otherwise discriminating against a health care provider on the basis that the provider does not participate in abortion. Further, this bill provides a civil right to action for those discriminated against, including physicians, health professionals, hospitals, health systems, insurance issuers, insurance plans, and administrators of health plans, among others. They deserve a choice. They deserve their day in court.

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Filed under: Religious freedomCongressLegislation

Evangelicals increasingly say it's becoming harder for them in America

Pew Research

July 14, 2016

Some of this feeling may stem from the fact that the country is becoming more secular: A rising share of Americans do not identify with any religion, while a shrinking portion of the population is Christian. Another factor may be the spread of legal same-sex marriage nationwide and increasing social acceptance of homosexuality, developments with which many conservative Christians disagree. And other clashes with the values many conservative Christians hold continue to play out across the country, whether it be over the teaching of evolution in public schools, the presence of religious displays on public property for Christmas or whether public school cheerleaders can put Bible verses on their banners.

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Filed under: Religious freedomPollingHomosexuality

Becket's Arriaga sworn in at U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

July 14, 2016

My father fled Fidel Castro's Cuba and lost everything. My father did not stew on his losses. Instead, he stayed focused on the horizon, on the future, and he taught his kids to do the same. Sitting around our kitchen table at night, he would speak about what was possible, not what was lost. He filled me with excitement when he would tell me that in this new country, a young Latina woman from Cuba could do whatever she set her mind to. Speaking to the next generation in Denver and taking the oath of office for USCIRF-both experiences brought me back to that kitchen table. In taking on this role for USCIRF, I want to carry on that spirit of possibility and optimism for all people who suffer, especially for their beliefs.

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Filed under: Religious freedomBecket FundPersecution

Federal Government Is Ignoring Pro-Life Consciences

The Federalist commentary by Ramona Tausz

July 12, 2016

"They were well-aware that as a faithful Catholic, I could not participate in the killing," she said. "Yet they threatened my job, and my nursing license, if I did not take part in the murder of the baby." DeCarlo said her nurse's duties, which included counting the body parts afterward, left her feeling "violated," but that she faced further discrimination when told she could not take her case to court. "The courts told me that even though the hospital broke the law, I had no right to have my day in court," DeCarlo said. "The health care Conscience Rights Act will change this. It will let doctors and nurses go to court if they are illegally coerced in assisting abortions."

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Filed under: AbortionLegislationHealthcare

Pass the Conscience Protection Act

Washington Times commentary by Rep. Chris Smith

July 12, 2016

On June 22nd, I was part of a group of lawmakers led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy who met with Health and Human Services (HHS )Secretary Sylvia Burwell and HHS Director of the Office for Civil Rights Jocelyn Samuels to respectfully ask why the Administration has refused to enforce the Weldon federal conscience law in the case of California's two-year-old draconian, coercive abortion order. The state of California forces all insurance plans under its purview-and the people and institutions that pay the premiums-to subsidize abortion on demand. Yet, the Weldon federal conscience law authored by former Congressman Dave Weldon of Florida and continuously in effect for over a decade-is explicit and comprehensive. It says in pertinent part that it is illegal for any "discrimination" against any health care entity "on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of or refer for abortions." The law's definition of health care entity explicitly includes "a health insurance plan." Despite the absolute clarity of Weldon in extending Federal conscience protection to health insurance plans, HHS's Burwell and Samuels insisted that health insurance plans weren't covered by Weldon-they said the insurance companies were covered but weren't objecting (which is irrelevant)-and on that point concluded that the injured parties including the Catholic Church lacked standing to obtain relief.

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Filed under: AbortionConscience freedomLegislation

Debunking 6 Myths About the First Amendment Defense Act

Daily Signal commentary by Roger Severino and William Wolfe

July 11, 2016

Myth 1: "The bill is cover for discrimination against LGBT people." Reality: This claim is rebutted by simply stating what the bill actually does-it prevents the federal government from discriminating against individuals and institutions that follow their beliefs about marriage and what it entails. It protects supporters of both sides of the same-sex marriage debate from being stripped of nonprofit tax-exempt status, licenses, grants, contracts, or accreditation. Just as Congress protected people from being punished for declining to participate in abortions after Roe v. Wade, the First Amendment Defense Act protects people from being punished for their beliefs about marriage after the Obergefell decision, without taking anything away from anyone.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationMarriageLegislation

Supreme Court Delivers Bitter Pill on Religious Liberty

Reason commentary by A. Barton Hinkle

July 11, 2016

n one of its last orders of the term, the high court refused to hear a case brought by a family-owned drugstore in Washington state. The Stormans, who own Ralph's Thriftway, object to state regulations that force pharmacies to dispense certain drugs. A federal district court ruled in their favor, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it. The Stormans asked the Supreme Court to hear their case, but the four liberal justices refused. Justice Samuel Alito wrote an irrefutable dissent, which fellow conservative justices John Roberts and Clarence Thomas joined. Alito makes it painfully clear that Washington's rules amount to blatant religious discrimination.In refusing to hear the Stormans' case, the Supreme Court has given states a green light to practice what the district court called a "religious gerrymander": They can single out deeply felt religious scruples as unworthy of consideration even while they accede to far less important objections, such as added paperwork. Alito calls the decision "an ominous sign." He's absolutely right.

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedomContraception

Forum on Conscience Protections

U.S. House Representatives

July 8, 2016

PARTICIPANTS

Marie-Alberte Boursiquot, M.D. - Pres., Catholic Medical Association - Prepared remarks

William J. “Bill” Cox – President, Alliance of Catholic Health Care - Prepared remarks

Cathy DeCarlo – Nurse, New York - Prepared remarks

Richard Doerflinger – Former AD Secretariat Pro-Life Activities, USCCB - Prepared remarks

Pastor Jim Garlow – Skyline Church, La Mesa, California - Prepared remarks

Donna J. Harrison, M.D. – Executive Director of AAPLOG - Prepared remarks

Pastor Chris Lewis – Foothill Church, Glendora, California - Prepared remarks

Casey Mattox – Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom - Prepared remarks

Fe Vinoya – Nurse, New Jersey - Prepared remarks

Dr. Dave Weldon – former Member of Congress and author, Weldon Amendment - Prepared remarks

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Filed under: CongressConscience freedomLegislation

Calif, bill that will undermine religious colleges not improved

IRFA commentary by Stanley Carlson-Thies

July 8, 2016

The bill now has two major features. The first is a requirement for any California higher education institution that has a religious exemption from the federal Title IX law to broadcast that exemption to prospective students, to faculty and staff, to any visitor to campus, and also, via a new public shaming listing on a California Student Aid Commission website, to the public. The other major feature of SB 1146 is to eliminate the independence of religious higher education institutions from the provision in California education law that prohibits institutions receiving any state funding (indirectly, via California state scholarships, or directly) from selectivity on any of many grounds, including not only sexual orientation but also religion.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomEducation

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