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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In the News

Are Religious Healthcare Systems "Churches"?

Federalist Society video with Eric Rassbach

November 30, 2016

What are the limits of what constitutes a "church" under ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act? Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, explains the upcoming Supreme Court Case, Dignity Health v. Rollins. The "Dignity Case" highlights the ambiguity of the definition of "church-established enterprises," such as the health care systems of religious organizations, and how they are impacted by the parameters of what constitutes religious exercise.

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Filed under: AudiovisualsReligious freedomBecket Fund

Three steps to landing a job in the new administration

Freedom2Care blog post by Jonathan Imbody

November 30, 2016

With the election of 2016 now behind us, we the people now transition to the task of governing ourselves-not only through the leaders we have chosen, but also directly, through government service. With a new administration that has voiced support for pro-life protections and religious freedom, you have an opportunity to help realize those goals by serving in the United States government. Months before the Nov. 8 election, we began working with key contacts in Washington, DC to begin identifying well-qualified, principled health professionals to serve in a 2017 administration. Now that the presidential transition team has kicked into overdrive, we are stepping up efforts to provide names and CVs of individuals willing to consider federal service.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationHealthcareElections

Price Tagged for HHS Post

Washington Update commentary by Tony Perkins

November 29, 2016

As the New York Times put it, "If [Trump] wanted a cabinet secretary who could help him dismantle and replace President Obama's health care law, he could not have found anyone more prepared than Representative Tom Price..." For six years, the Georgia Chairman of the House Budget Committee has been leading the charge to topple President Obama's signature failure -- and as the head of the agency in charge of overseeing health care, he'll be in the perfect place to see that goal through to completion. And based on today's polling, he'll have plenty of grassroots support when he does. A whopping eight in 10 Americans told Gallup this month that they'd like to see the law either fully repealed or significantly changed. Only 14 percent approve of the "Affordable" Care Act that continues to crush jobs, medical choices, family budgets, freedom, and conscience. "There is much work to be done to ensure we have a health care system that works for patients, families, and doctors," Price told reporters, "that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness; and that is based on sensible rules to protect the well-being of the country while embracing its innovative spirit."

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilConscience freedomHealthcare

Freedom of Conscience on Hacksaw Ridge

Breakpoint radio commentary by Eric Metaxas

November 28, 2016

And now there's an amazing, powerful film about one man who was willing to give his life, but whose conscience and deeply held religious beliefs would not allow him to take the lives of others. Mel Gibson's new movie, "Hacksaw Ridge," tells the story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist from the hills of Virginia, who enlisted in the Army with the understanding he could serve as a medic-and therefore not violate his firm belief in "thou shalt not kill." Times in which florists and bakers are being hauled before civil rights commissions, being fined, losing their businesses; times in which pharmacists in Washington State can lose their licenses for refusing to dispense abortion pills; times in which churches in Massachusetts can run afoul of "public accommodation" laws requiring gender neutral bathrooms-we do indeed have a model in Desmond Doss.

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Filed under: AudiovisualsConscience freedomMilitary

ACLU wants to force Catholic health care system to sterilize women

Alliance Defending Freedom news release

November 21, 2016

ADF explains in the letter that federal law protects Ascension Health, the nation's largest nonprofit health system and the world's largest Catholic health system, from being forced to perform sterilization procedures in contradiction to its religious convictions. As the letter explains, not only does the federal Church Amendment offer such protections, but the Affordable Care Act on which the ACLU relies also protects Ascension by stating explicitly that nothing in the ACA "shall be construed to have any effect on Federal laws regarding...conscience protection." "No one should be forced to perform or participate in a procedure when doing so would violate their conscience. This is especially true of medical workers and health care systems who are in the profession largely because of-and as an extension of-their faith," said ADF Legal Counsel Ken Connelly.

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Filed under: AbortionReligious freedomAlliance Defending Freedom

A New Defense for Religious Liberty: Going on Offense against Bad Laws

American Thinker commentary by David Rosenthal

November 18, 2016

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment is designed to ensure that all Americans may freely live out their faith. This is not limited to freedom of worship, but includes the heart, mind, and soul of religious people, thereby guiding how people act in the public square. When a law restricts that first freedom, the American conscience is put on trial. One way to preserve the American conscience is for individuals to preemptively put unjust laws on trial by way of pre-enforcement challenges. This ensures that the owner is not at risk of criminal or civil penalties for violating an ironically titled anti-discrimination law when faced with the challenge of being asked to participate in any practice that violates his conscience.

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedomHeritage Foundation

Corporations Can Push Back Against Anti-Religious Freedom Activists

FRC blog commentary by Travis Weber

November 18, 2016

One important bit of recent religious liberty news which hasn't gotten much attention is the pushback by Proctor & Gamble shareholders against anti-religious freedom activists seeking to eliminate corporate neutrality and enlist large firms in their culture war exploits. This is a promising development, and shows that large corporations abandoning their neutrality and enlisting in the battle against religious freedom is not inevitable. When it was recently proposed that the "company should join Apple, PayPal, Disney, and others in the political fight against religious freedom laws in Mississippi and Tennessee and should take a stand against North Carolina's transgender restroom policy," 94% of shareholders rejected the idea. Such a rejection shows there is sanity in the corporate world, after all.

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilGender

Religious Liberty Protections Stripped From NDAA

Daily Signal commentary by Melanie Israel

November 18, 2016

Reports have surfaced that House and Senate members of the conference committee negotiating the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) have caved to the Obama administration's veto threat and stripped the Russell Amendment, which would prevent the government from revoking contracts and grants from faith-based social service providers whose internal staffing policies reflect their faith, from the final version of the bill. The amendment, offered by Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., was originally included in the House-passed version of the NDAA and applies decades-old religious exemptions from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) to federal grants and contracts. In other words, it shouldn't have been controversial.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomLegislation

VIDEO: Religious Freedom and the Common Good: A Symposium

Sen. Ben Sasse et al at Religious Freedom Project in Georgetown

November 15, 2016

Our symposium explored the following: To what extent is religious liberty critical for human flourishing? When and how does it contribute to economic prosperity, democratization, and peace? What challenges face religious communities living under repressive governments or hostile social forces? How is the persecution of religion related to other infringements of basic human rights? What is the relationship between religious freedom and violent religious extremism, and is there a role for religious freedom in efforts to undermine radicalization and counter violent religious extremism and terrorism over the long term? Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) delivered a keynote address on the promotion of international religious freedom as an urgent global imperative.

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Filed under: AudiovisualsReligious freedomPersecution

Trump Voters Impacted by "Religious Liberty" and "Unborn Human Life" Concerns

CNS News

November 14, 2016

The survey asked, "As you may know, the Republican party platform includes strong positions on unborn human life and religious liberty. How did this impact your presidential vote?" A majority - 51 percent - of total registered voters surveyed said these issues in the Republican platform impacted their presidential vote, and 59 percent of Trump voters said that this impacted their presidential vote, compared to 48 percent of Clinton voters. "The Republican Party's platform positions on unborn human life and religious liberty was the bridge between Donald Trump and Christian conservatives," FRC President Tony Perkins.

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilElections

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