Voice your values: Legislative action
Read: Faith Steps: How to winsomely engage on controversial public policy issues.
Now with new study guide!
--Coercing health professionals to comply with transgender ideology: the 2016 HHS transgender mandate;
--Squelching First Amendment freedoms on campuses: barring campus faith expression;
--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.
Tell how you have experienced discrimination as a health professional regarding abortion, assisted suicide, transgender issues and other matters of medical judgment and conscience.
The Pew Research Center found in 2016 that 74 percent of the world's population lives in countries with high or very high restriction or outright hostility to religion. The Knights of Columbus in a 300-page report documented genocide against Christians in the Middle East - mass murders and deportations, torture, kidnapping for ransom, sexual enslavement and rape of girls and women, forcible conversions to Islam and the destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, cemeteries and artifacts by the Islamic State - and former Secretary of State Kerry designated last year the violence by ISIS against Yezidis, Christians, Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria as "ongoing genocide." The recent slaughter of Coptic Christians in Egypt during Sunday worship services is another tragic reminder that we must continue to speak up. International religious freedom is not a "Republican" or "Democrat" issue.
Much of the hostility seems to focus on the fact that people of faith often hold convictions on hotly debated topics like abortion, sex and marriage-convictions that differ from some people who do not share in that faith. So if you don't like those convictions, what is the easiest way to beat your religious opponents on these issues? Shut them up, marginalize them, exclude them from the public square. Make them the one group that it's okay to discriminate against. And I would suggest that that way of thinking has resulted in a concerted pressure to reduce religious freedom to something more like religious permission. Religious permission means, okay, you can believe whatever you want-but only as long as you keep it inside the four walls of your church, synagogue or mosque. Your religious views will not be allowed in public. Religious permission means you can sing your little religious songs, pray to whatever gods you imagine inside your head, talk about love and peace and sing around the campfire. But actually living out your religious beliefs, your conscience, your convictions in the public square? Well, that's where religious permission draws the line.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent a church that runs a preschool and daycare center, which was excluded from a Missouri program that provides grants to purchase rubberized surface material (made of recycled tires) for children's playgrounds. Although the state highly ranked the center as qualified for the program, it denied the center's application solely because a church runs the daycare.
In an opinion concurring with the majority, Judge Richard Posner wrote that changing norms call for a change in interpretation of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin or sex. "I don't see why firing a lesbian because she is in the subset of women who are lesbian should be thought any less a form of sex discrimination than firing a woman because she's a woman," wrote the judge, who was appointed by Republican Ronald Reagan. The dissenting opinion - written by Judge Diane Sykes, a conservative who was on Trump's list of possible Supreme Court appointees - said the majority were stretching the meaning of the law's text too far. "We are not authorized to infuse the text with a new or unconventional meaning or to update it to respond to changed social, economic, or political conditions." The dissent alludes to the judicial philosophy of Trump's high-court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who advocates sticking with the original legislative texts in deciding legal disputes.
If the main contribution that Christians make to culture is complaining about it, we're doing something wrong. That's what my friend Makoto Fujimura says in his new book, "Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life." You may have heard me interview Fujimura before. He's a brilliant artist and writer who has thought long and hard about the relationship between faith and the arts. "Culture," he argues, "is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated." In other words, Fujimura wants us to shift our thinking away from the "culture wars" model, in which we think of culture as a battleground. Of course we need to have convictions about culture, and to stand by them. But Fujimura wants to offer a better way for us to influence culture for good. His image of a garden is just one of many he draws from nature, to show how we can carefully and patiently help to cultivate that cultural environment and make good things grow in it. Pub. 3/28/17
oday, there are virtually no Jews in the country-fewer than ten live in Baghdad at present. Thus, complete population extinctions that are not caused by disease can take place. White described the situation for Christians as follows: "The time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some say Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited." The stories of persecution and killing (in some cases by crucifixion) of Christians to compel their conversion to Islam are commonplace. The level of barbarism can hardly be described with any word other than "demonic." The United States government is not without some influence in the area. Although nobody seems to know it, the U.S. has over 10,000 service members fighting in Syria and Iraq. However, our foreign policy establishment has made little effort to require protections for religious minorities. The Trump administration must go in a new direction.
Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has sent a letter to the acting Secretary of the Army regarding the outgoing Secretary of the Army's decision to sign a directive just hours before his resignation that wastes valuable resources on a plan to provide "training on implicit or unconscious bias." "The military exists to protect our nation, not to be used as a laboratory for social engineering-and especially not from an outgoing official's 11th hour order," said Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews, USA (Retired), executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. "This directive does nothing to increase military readiness but wastes valuable training time just to promote a political agenda." Pub. 3/27/17
Congress has passed two pieces of legislation protecting religious freedom with overwhelming bipartisan support: the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). These laws strike a sensible balance so no American-particularly those who are politically unpopular-can be unnecessarily forced by the government to violate their faith. These laws have been pivotal in protecting religious freedom for individuals of many faiths, including Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, and Native Americans. The balance required by these laws is put in the hands of judges, and so it is crucial that any Supreme Court nominee demonstrate a knowledge of how they function. Judge Gorsuch's reasoned and thorough understanding of RFRA and RLUIPA has been well documented and is vividly demonstrated in his Yellowbear v. Lampert decision that protected a Native American man's right to practice his faith while in prison. Pub. 3/26/17
The cultural ideal of individual sexual autonomy, which has slowly and steadily grown since first significantly emerging during the sexual revolution of the 1960s, has rapidly expanded into a powerful cultural and political force, primarily embodied in the lesbian/gay/bi-sexual/transgender (LGBT) advocacy movement. As this occurred, largely Christian segments of the country found their beliefs being displaced in law to give way to LGBT policies. The minority faiths who have always needed religious liberty protections still need them. But now, in addition, perhaps for the first time in American history, Christians need religious liberty protections-as their beliefs are adversely impacted by federal, state, and local laws and government actions. (.pdf file)
David Daleiden's ordeal at the hands of the California attorney general is hardly the only California threat to the First Amendment. Because abortion is paramount to some progressives - and religious freedom, free speech, and freedom of association hardly worth mentioning by comparison - the California Assembly is currently pondering a bill that would directly infringe on the rights of religious organizations to uphold and advance their principles and beliefs regarding sexuality and marriage. The bill is flatly unconstitutional in any reasonable jurisdiction, but California is in the Ninth Circuit, so it's always better to defeat bills in committee rather than test them in court.