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

California Higher Education Bill Will Undermine Faith-Based Institutions

RFRA commentary by Stanley Carlson-Thies,

June 28, 2016

All of this-diverse institutions, respect for differing religious and moral values, extensive choice for students, a religious setting for students, faculty, and staff who prefer such, state government support for low-income students committed to a faith-based education and to traditional moral values-is at extreme risk from SB 1146. Its author, state Senator Ricardo Lara, aims to stop what he alleges, but with only the most minor proof, is discriminatory and harmful treatment of LGBT students and employees by California's conservative religious colleges and universities, such as Biola University, Azusa Pacific, Thomas Aquinas, and William Jessup. SB 1146 has passed the Senate, and on June 21, 2016, after a distressing hearing, the Assembly higher education committee. A few more steps and, everyone expects, the bill will land on Governor Jerry Brown's desk.

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Filed under: Religious freedomEducation

The dark pessimism of American Christians

The Week commentary by Michael Brendan Dougherty

June 28, 2016

In her new book, It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its EnemiesMary Eberstadt finds a dark pessimism settling over many American Christians when they contemplate the future. They perceive a foreboding shift in public attitude. Once there seemed to be a broad and liberal respect for the free exercise of religion, even in public life. But now, the very cultural forces promoting tolerance and diversity treat Christians and their institutions with broad suspicion, and demand absolute conformity with an egalitarian ethos that has only recently even announced its own existence. But what if the zeal that Eberstadt uncovers in her book is motivated by something deeper? 

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Filed under: Religious freedomFree speechHomosexuality

New Obama administration rule will fuel prosecution of health professionals who follow biology over ideology

Freedom2Care blog by Jonathan Imbody

June 23, 2016

If you as a health professional or your healthcare institution stick to the scientific view of male and female as biologically determined, the Obama administration and lawyers around the country now have a new weapon with which to stick it to you. Any health professional or institution that receives federal (HHS) funding and treats or counsels transsexual patients, prescribes hormone therapy, performs procedures related to sexuality or has a gender-specific bathroom, changing facility or shower area will suddenly encounter sweeping new dictates designed to enforce a non-biological, ideological view of human sexuality. Action Opportunity: If you as a health professional and/or your healthcare institution have been or may be affected by these new regulations, please use the Freedom2Care form to let us know.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationGenderHealthcare

New Rule Requires Doctors To Treat Trans Patients As Their Pretend Sex

The Federalist commentary by Maria Servold

June 22, 2016

Doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies may soon face lawsuits for treating male and female patients according to their biological sex, thanks to a health care rule finalized in May as part of the Affordable Care Act. On the same day President Barack Obama announced his controversial transgender school bathroom policy last month, a somewhat more sinister mandate was finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with consequences for health care providers, insurance companies, and American taxpayers. The regulations also threaten the freedom and independence of health care professionals who "believe maleness and femaleness are biological realities to be respected and affirmed, not altered or treated as diseases," the Heritage report states. People with religious beliefs that contradict this regulation have no legal options but compliance or filing lawsuits, said Matthew Kacsmaryk, a deputy general counsel at the First Liberty Institute.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationFirst LibertyHealthcare

Obama Admin Rejects Conscience Objections to Mandatory Abortion Funding in California Health Plans

CNS News

June 22, 2016

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rejected complaints Tuesday from California churches and religious groups against a state regulation that mandates abortion coverage in all state health care plans with no religious exemptions. The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) stated in an August 2014 letter to seven insurance companies that they were required to include elective abortions in their health plans with no exceptions. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a complaint with HHS in September 2014 on behalf of seven employees and health care plan participants with Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “The Obama administration is once again making a mockery of the law, and this time in the most unimaginable way,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox responded to the decision Tuesday.

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Filed under: AbortionReligious freedomAlliance Defending Freedom

Native Americans win, feds flee feather fight

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

June 14, 2016

In a historic settlement agreement signed last night, the federal government admitted that it was wrong to send an undercover agent to raid a Native American powwow and seize nearly 50 eagle feathers used for religious worship-a raid the government dubbed "Operation PowWow" (watch video). Called "a victory for religious freedom" by the Wall Street Journal, the historic agreement ends a decade of litigation by recognizing the right of Pastor Robert Soto of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas and 400 other Native Americans to freely use eagle feathers for Native American worship. "The government has no business sending undercover agents to raid peaceful Native American religious ceremonies," said Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "This historic agreement recognizes that the government violated Mr. Soto's religious freedom and must respect the rights of all Native Americans in the future."

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Filed under: Religious freedomBecket Fund

Former nurse sues Winnebago County Health Department

WIFR

June 9, 2016

A former Rockford nurse files a lawsuit with the Winnebago County Health Department after she says she was fired because of her religious beliefs. According to the filed complaint, Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell merged pediatrics with women's health services and mandated that all nurses train to provide abortion referrals. Mendoza says when she informed her boss that she would not be participating because that would interfere with her religious beliefs, she says Martell gave her the ultimatum to either quit or take a job as a food inspector. Mendoza's attorney, Noel Sterett, says state law protects her and her beliefs. Mendoza is seeking damages under the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. There is a bill that would force doctors and nurses to promote and perform abortions despite their personal beliefs. That is currently awaiting the approval of Governor Bruce Rauner.

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Filed under: Alliance Defending FreedomConscience freedomHealthcare

"Freedom of Worship" Isn't Enough

Wall Street Journal commentary by John J. Miller

June 9, 2016

On March 28, however, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a revision. The phrase "freedom of worship" would be changed to "freedom of religion." The notice came in a letter from the agency's director, Leon Rodriguez, to Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican who called for the correction last year. The switch allows the naturalization exam to reflect the actual language of the Constitution: The word "worship" does not appear anywhere in its text, whereas the First Amendment promises "the free exercise" of "religion."

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomCongress

Perkins: First amendment freedoms hinge on electing faith-respecting officials

DJK Ministries

June 1, 2016

[video] "We have seen such an increase in hostility toward religious freedom and expression in this country that the ability to freely live out our faith--in a way that impacts the world around us for Christ--is at risk. We can either stop that by those we elect in office who understand our First Amendment freedoms and are willing to defend them, or we can continue to see those freedoms disintegrate as we allow those to be elected who are hostile toward the expression of Christian faith."

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research Council

Mass media distorts coverage on religious issues, Christian author says

Washington Times

June 1, 2016

In a talk at the Family Research Council on Tuesday, Michael Cromartie pinned substandard religion coverage on the environment in which media members are educated. He said the majority of journalists attend elite progressive institutions where they scarcely come in to contact with those who hold religious beliefs, leading to a conspicuous blind spot when it comes to writing on related matters. "We're like an anthropological project for them: ‘We'll go study these people, because I've never met one'," he said.

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilFree speech

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