Protecting our first freedoms:
Faith, conscience and speech

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Family Research Council

 

Doctors Across The World Are Fighting To Treat Charlie Gard. Will The UK Let Them?

The Federalist commentary by Arina Grossu

July 12, 2017

"Why has the case of British 11-month-old baby Charlie Gard struck an international nerve? At its core, this controversy is about state infringement on parental rights. The question is, whose child is Charlie: his parents’ or the state’s? Why is the hospital holding him hostage and by what authority can it override his parents’ wish to pursue therapy that could help Charlie?"

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Report: Attacks On America's First Freedom Increased 76 Percent In Three Years

The Federalist Commentary by Travis Weber

July 3, 2017

More than 200 years ago, the young United States was learning to walk in its freshly won freedom and the Constitution born of it. Our experiment in self-governance, based on the idea that our Creator endowed all of us with certain inalienable rights as reflected in our Declaration of Independence, was unique in the history of the world.

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50,000 Ask Bernie Sanders to Apologize for Attack on Trump Nominee's Faith

Daily Signal

June 13, 2017

Over 50,000 individuals so far have signed an online petition asking Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to apologize for his public attack on the Christian beliefs of President Donald Trump's nominee for a post in the Office of Management and Budget. Sanders "responded in anger after Russell Vought, President Trump's nominee to be deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, answered a question about his belief that salvation is found alone through Jesus Christ," the petition drafted by the Family Research Council, a Washington-based conservative policy organization, reads. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told The Daily Signal in an interview Tuesday that Sanders' comments during Vought's hearing June 7 before the Senate Budget Committee showed intolerance to religious freedom. "I think what we saw from Bernie Sanders last week was just a blatant display of religious bigotry and intolerance," Perkins said.

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Trump's Rule on the HHS Contraceptive Mandate Ensures Religious Freedom for All

Inside Sources commentary by Travis Weber

June 12, 2017

A recently leaked draft rule indicating President Trump's response to President Barack Obama's oppressive contraceptive mandate made the rounds. In short, if it becomes the final rule, it is a big win for religious freedom. For nearly seven years, numerous for-profit and non-profit entities, religious institutions and others with conscientious objections to being forced to provide contraceptives and drugs and devices that can destroy human embryos have asked the federal government for a way out of providing them. They only asked to not be put in a position where they have to choose, as a price of following their conscience, between paying crippling fines that could shut them down or dropping the health care for all their employees. The draft rule simply tries to address all concerns. Organizations that want to provide contraceptives can, and the very few organizations that do not want to do not have to - in which case, the objectionable drugs and devices will still be provided, but from another source, such as a third-party administrator.

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GOP religious freedom bill restores free speech, not 'dark money'

The Hill commentary by Mandi Ancalle

May 9, 2017

While Rabbi Saperstein is undoubtedly an expert on international religious freedom, he and many Democrats on the Committee did not appear to be familiar with the legislative initiative to fix the Johnson Amendment, the Free Speech Fairness Act (H.R. 781, S. 264). The idea behind the Free Speech Fairness Act is to restore the First Amendment freedom of speech to pastors and other 501(c)(3) organizations' leaders, while ensuring churches and other non-profits do not become about "dark money" or transition into political action committees. The Free Speech Fairness Act is all about speech. It does not allow 501(c)(3) organizations to begin purchasing political campaign ads, or to otherwise create a cash flow of "dark money" for politicians.

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Entertaining Moments During Oral Arguments Over Banning Churches From Public Funds

The Federalist commentary by Travis Weber

April 24, 2017

Last week's oral arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer will decide whether a state can exclude a religious entity from a public grant program just because the entity is religious. These four entertaining moments from those arguments indicate the court will likely rule for the church in this case. When Missouri's counsel tried to argue that giving the churches public money entangled the government with religion because the grant conditions incentivized the recipients to publicly proclaim that the government helped them out, Justice Anthony Kennedy responded: "I mean, you could say the same thing . . . that the church is delighted that it has fire protection." Growing increasingly frustrated with the state's argument at one point, Justice Breyer animatedly asked: "[H]ow does it permit Missouri to deny money to [a church] for helping children not fall in the playground, cut their knees, get tetanus, break a leg, etcetera?" Justice Alito also asked whether it would be permissible to allow public money to be used for "security enhancements at schools where there's fear of shooting or other school violence," as a New York City program allows. The states' attorney again said it would not. 

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Christianity in Iraq Appears Doomed to Extinction

FRC commentary by Chris Gacek

April 4, 2017

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.

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Religious Liberty: An Introduction to Our Freedom to Believe

FRC resource by Travis Weber

April 1, 2017

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)

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Judge Neil Gorsuch: The Case for Confirmation

FRC commentary by Chris Gacek and Travis Weber

March 21, 2017

During the presidential campaign, President Trump produced a list of 21 potential nominees for Justice Scalia's vacant seat on the Supreme Court. We are pleased that he nominated a great candidate off that list -- Judge Neil Gorsuch. Upon confirmation, Judge Gorsuch will be faced with a host of pressing legal issues, and it is important to understand how he will rule and why. This issue analysis generally discusses the type of justices who should sit on our highest court, and explains why Judge Gorsuch is qualified for that role and should be confirmed. (.pdf file)

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Trump Returns Authority Over School Transgender Policies to States and Localities

The Stream commentary by Peter Sprigg

February 26, 2017

Contrary to almost all the news reporting on this story, the real question addressed by the new administration's guidance is not (at least not directly), "Which restrooms or locker rooms should students who identify as transgender use?" Instead, it is something much simpler - "Who gets to decide?" The answer that President Trump's administration has now given is also simple: "Not us. Not the federal government."The Trump administration policy will open the door for such accommodations to ensure that the legitimate needs and concerns of all students are met.

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Trump Reverses Federal Bathroom Folly. Will Fairfax Follow?

The Stream commentary by Cathy Ruse

February 23, 2017

Earlier this month a high school freshman named "Katie" (a pseudonym) was forced to sit through a highly politicized LGBT lesson at the beginning of Math class, via closed circuit TV. Her parents were not given the opportunity to opt her out. They weren't even given notice. "After watching the video, it was my impression that the Fairfax County school district was attempting to force me to believe in something that doesn't respect my beliefs," Katie told the Fairfax County School Board at a recent meeting. "The whole situation made me feel stressed and uncomfortable." For its reversal of the Obama edict, the Trump administration earns high marks in Biology, Social Studies, and Comparative Religion. Unfortunately, the Fairfax County School Board seems to care only about being politically correct.

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Neil Gorsuch's Proven Track Record of Protecting Religious Liberty

The Daily Signal commentary by Travis Weber

February 16, 2017

Gorsuch voted with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in its en banc decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which sided with the religious challengers and articulated a strong view of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In that same case, he wrote a concurring opinion explaining how the Green family (owners of Hobby Lobby) themselves are also entitled to protection under the same statute. In addition, when the en banc 10th Circuit rejected the Little Sisters' claims in Little Sisters v. Burwell, Gorsuch joined the dissent, clearly stating that their religious beliefs had been substantially burdened under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Yet he won't allow the religious liberty law to be used as an excuse for all behavior. In United States v. Quaintance, he rejected drug smugglers' claims that their marijuana distribution was motivated by religious belief as insincere and thus not protected by the statute.

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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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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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What President-elect Trump can do about religious freedom

Fox News commentary by Tony Perkins

January 16, 2017

Our foreign policy, contrary to the law, has not prioritized religious freedom like it should. President-elect Trump must direct that religious freedom be properly integrated into all foreign policy of the United States at every level. As even the United Nations has recognized, religious freedom is not just an American right, it is a human right. Defending that human right has been an American value until recent years. President-elect Trump should also follow through with his pledge to issue an executive order, reinstating government-wide protections for religious liberty. But executive orders halting attacks on religious freedom are just the start, there are many more anti-religious freedom policies of the Obama administration that must be reversed. That's why government nondiscrimination legislation is needed to protect supporters of marriage between one man and one woman. People of faith should not be punished by the government for living in accordance with their beliefs.

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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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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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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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State-Sanctioned Discrimination in Georgia

Family Research Council commentary by Mandi Ancalle

November 4, 2016

Two African-American Christian men have been fired from their roles serving the state and its municipalities for holding religious views about human sexuality. People with sincere religious views are now being marginalized in Georgia, where just last year, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a religious liberty bill saying, "I find it ironic that today some in the religious community feel it necessary to ask the government to confer upon them certain rights and protections." The legislature can easily address the concerns of Dr. Walsh, Fire Chief Cochran, and Georgians across the state, particularly as it relates to their religious views about human sexuality by passing the Government Non-Discrimination Act.

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Therapists Addressing Same-Sex Attractions are Joining the SAFE-T Patrol

FRC blog by Peter Sprigg

November 1, 2016

If you follow news about the LGBT movement, you may have heard that there are major efforts underway to ban "conversion therapy." There are a number of serious problems with this effort-one of which is that no one who engages in the process of helping people overcome unwanted same-sex attractions refers to it as "conversion therapy." The new term is Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy-or "SAFE-T" for short. By stressing therapeutic exploration, the new term accurately conveys that the therapist is not being coercive but merely assisting individuals in a client-centered examination of their sexual attractions. Scientifically, the fluidity of sexual orientation (and, for our purposes, especially same-sex attractions) for many men and women is now beyond question. The language of SAFE-T highlights this reality and points to human experience that cannot be denied.

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We Need to Amend the Johnson Amendment So the IRS Will Allow Free Speech

Daily Signal 9/29 commentary by Tony Perkins

October 1, 2016

For decades a provision of the tax code referred to as the Johnson Amendment has prevented these organizations from providing such information. Under current IRS guidance, the Johnson Amendment prevents a whole host of nonprofit organizations, religious and otherwise, from informing their followers in ways relevant to their own duty to vote. This ban is at odds with our own history.

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We Need to Amend the Johnson Amendment So the IRS Will Allow Free Speech

Daily Signal commentary by Tony Perkins pub. 9/29

October 1, 2016

The amendment was introduced in 1954 by Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, as a way to stop his political opponents. The future president never intended to bar advocacy organizations from mentioning elected officials, or pastors and churches from commenting on candidates. Unfortunately, the Johnson Amendment certainly has been used in this way. Indeed, under current IRS guidance, it prevents a whole host of nonprofit organizations, religious and otherwise, from informing their followers in ways relevant to their own duty to vote. This ban is at odds with our own history. Since the birth of our nation, pastors and churches have been at the forefront of shaping public debate and our choice of public servants.

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Setting the Record Straight on RFRA (Again)

Family Research Council blog by Trtavis Weber

September 8, 2016

The federal RFRA and almost all state RFRAs contain no such amendment. They’ve operated well for years, protecting individuals like the Muslim inmate highlighted in this article, and others. The article also implies that RFRA without the “fix” could not help the inmate: “After Pence’s “fix” the law became largely disarmed from doing what many critics said was its original discriminatory intent. In fact, the opposite happened, the law has since become an extra tool to fight against religious discrimination, [Professor] Katz said.” Yet a Muslim inmate bringing a claim under RFRA with the “fix” is not the “opposite” of what he could have done before the “fix.” The provision of RFRA he is using to bring his claim (the same provision which has been around since 1993 with little controversy) was not changed at all.

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The First Amendment Defense Act Should Not Protect Multiple Views of Marriage

Family Research Council

July 22, 2016

Unfortunately, the latest revisions to FADA have forced FRC to withdraw its support of the bill. The new FADA language says: (a) IN GENERAL.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that-(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of- (A) two individuals of the opposite sex; or (B) two individuals of the same sex; or (2) extramarital relations are improper. Principled Objections to the new language: The new language of FADA would force Congress to affirm, for the first time, the construct that marriage can be between two people of the same sex. A vast majority of conscience bills based on the life issue, including the recently-passed Conscience Protection Act, protect against government discrimination for one view of abortion-the pro-life view. There is not a constitutional problem with these pro-life laws, and there should be no problem with a pro-marriage law that does not also provide protections for same-sex marriage views.

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Pentagon issues sex change manual, allows extended time off for process

Washington Times

July 14, 2016

n announcing his intention to remove the ban on transgender personnel, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last year said the rules were "outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions." Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer who has opposed President Obama's policy of gays in the military and women in land combat, said Mr. Carter is "delusional if he believes our military needs transgenders/transsexuals to remain the ‘finest fighting force in the world.' Transsexuals suffer from more psychiatric pathologies than the general population, and active suicide ideation and major depression episodes occur more frequently within this group," Mr. Maginnis said. "Creating a bureaucracy to sort out transgender issues will go down in the history of our armed forces as the worst waste of defense dollars ever.

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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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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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Don't punish religious belief

USA Today commentary by Tony Perkins

April 10, 2016

Nearly a half-million children are in the foster care system, and roughly a quarter of them are available for adoption. Over 1,000 non-profit agencies, many of them faith-based, work to find safe and loving homes for these children. States such as Mississippi are being pressured to end their relationships with these faith-based organizations because the government doesn't like the organizations' beliefs about natural marriage. This is just one example of how states are being used to discriminate against people with deeply held religious beliefs. This penalizes more than the religious organization; it hurts society as a whole

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Religious Liberty Around the World: Where We Stand

Family Research Council video

April 6, 2016

Religious believers around the world experience violence, repression, and exile of various forms and degrees. It deserves our attention and America's action. This lecture featured remarks by former Congressman Frank Wolf of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative; Dr. Thomas Farr, Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University; Tina Ramirez, Founder and Executive Director of Hardwired Global, an organization focused on training and promoting religious freedom around the world.; and Pervez Rafique, President of Bleeding for Belief, an organization working to stop religious persecution in Pakistan and former Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly in Pakistan.

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The Value of Religious Organizations and Businesses to Society

FRC Issue Analysis by Travis Weber

April 1, 2016

This issue cuts across political lines; conservatives believe businesses should have a conscience on marriage and sexuality, and liberals believe businesses should have a conscience when it comes to environmental issues. We all agree that businesses should have ethics. The whole field of “corporate social responsibility” has developed from the notion of ethical business practices. Numerous lawsuits against large, for-profit corporations alleging human rights abuses overseas are evidence that many want corporations to have a conscience.

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World Watch List Highlights Worst Countries for Persecution of Christians

FRC blog by Travis Weber

January 14, 2016

Sadly, predictions about 2015 had come true-persecution of Christians increased on every continent in the last year. While much of the attention is on radical Islam-which is sure to blame-perennial offenders (like #1 North Korea) continue to make a deadly impact with their incredibly repressive state-sponsored persecution. The ten worst nations for persecution of Christians throughout 2015 were North Korea, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Libya.

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FRC Washington Update

From the IRS, Clarity on Charity

January 7, 2016

Common sense isn't exactly a common theme at the IRS. But the year is off to a surprisingly good start at Americans' least favorite agency now that officials have put the kibosh on a ridiculous charitable donation idea. Early last month, we told you about a worrisome new proposal from the IRS that would give 501(c)(3) organizations (like FRC) "the option" of doing away with their written acknowledgements of donations over $250 and consider sending all of their donors' personal information to the agency instead. For several reasons -- not the least of which is the IRS's horrible track record of data leaks and political harassment -- nonprofits of all stripes strenuously objected, arguing that it wouldn't be long until this "optional system" became mandatory.

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What Christians Do About Persecution

Real Clear Religion commentary by Travis Weber

December 18, 2015

Middle East researchers acknowledged the terrible threat that Middle East researchers acknowledged the terrible threat that ISIS poses to religious freedom, virtually wiping out minority communities, including Christians. Bishop Angelos of the Coptic Church in the United Kingdom said that Western nations don't want to defend the Christians of the Middle East because they fear being seen as biased. If Western nations won't step in to stop ISIS, who will?

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'The Protest Season' is Becoming an Assault on Religious Freedom on Campus

The Stream commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 12, 2015

Committed religious faith that animated the founding of many of the institutions that now reject it should be welcome, not shunned. And degree-granting schools should be places where respectful and principled disagreement is part of the very purpose of their institutional existence. Fascism should be dead everywhere, but especially on America's campuses. Why isn't it?

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No Tenure for Tolerance

FRC Washington Update commentary by Tony Perkins

November 18, 2015

English Professor Robert Oscar Lopez was already on the hot seat in California. His crime? Inviting students to an optional conference on family matters. A student has since complained, alleging that she was “coerced” to attend the event and “traumatized” by a discussion of LGBT issues. In reality, no one mentioned the subject -- and Lopez submitted the tapes to prove it. What was actually behind the conflict, Lopez thinks, has nothing to do with his class -- and everything to do with his personal story. This summer, Lopez became a key figure in the same-sex marriage debate when he shared his personal story of the devastating effects of growing up in a lesbian home in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court.

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Sexual freedom is afforded more protection than religious liberty

Washington Times commentary by Travis Weber

August 28, 2015

Why then, does the federal government refuse to acknowledge such requests for exemptions in other contexts, such as regarding contraception and abortion, and same-sex marriage? The conscientious objectors are often similarly motivated by religion, and just as sincere. Why did the Obama administration refuse to accommodate the beliefs of the Little Sisters of the Poor and fight these women all the way to the Supreme Court? Why did the solicitor general contemplate revoking the tax-exempt status of conscience-based schools if they decline to approve of same-sex marriage? It would appear the government wants to pick and choose which religious claims to support based on their content.

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Tax Exemption for Churches: An American Value, a Social Imperative

Family Research Council commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 13, 2015

Tax exemption for churches protects religious entities from the state. Giving government authority to tax religious entities not only breaches the protective wall of separation that guards the church from the state, but effectively knocks that wall down. Religious values have long infused American public life and law, yet as institutions, church and state are distinct institutionally. Giving any government, whether federal, state, or local, the legal authority to tax property belonging to religious entities is only a first step toward making churches institutionally subservient to that government.

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Obergefell v. Hodges: Supreme Court Discards Voters' Views on Marriage

FRC commentary by Travis Weber

June 26, 2015

First, in reading this right into the Constitution, the Court played social policy maker instead of judge. This issue should have been left to the states, but the Court chose instead to make extensive pronouncements of social policy and create a right to same sex marriage under the Constitution. Second, the Court overlooks huge logical gaps throughout its use of precedent and case law. All of the marriage decisions the majority relies on pertained to marriage between a man and a woman. None of them dealt with a marriage between two people of the same sex. To claim all those decisions contemplated such relationships as constitutionally protected marriages is an incredible leap in legal reasoning.

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Christianity under attack: US must do more to promote religious freedom

FOX News commentary by Tony Perkins and John McCain

June 25, 2015

As a nation founded in the pursuit of religious freedom, America can and must do more to root-out the religious intolerance that is helping to foster much of the political instability and violence we see today. Specifically, we believe the Obama Administration should integrate the protection of religious freedom into its overall response to growing terrorist threats and development efforts around the world. Doing so would help to eliminate the underlying causes of violent extremism, promote increased international economic stability, and foster greater respect for human rights.

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Two Noteworthy Supreme Court Decisions Announced Today

Family Research Council commentary by Travis Weber

June 4, 2015

In other words, the employer can't discriminate against the employee or prospective employee "because of" their religion, or on account of their religion, and can't make their religious practice "a factor" in employment decisions. This is a good result with regard to protecting the religious practices of employees. In the future, in other contexts where employers may seek to exclude Christians from the workplace, the employers won't be able to escape the law by claiming ignorance. The Court's ruling today means that the employer won't be able to escape liability by just claiming "the employee never told me they needed a religious accommodation."

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On conservative religious activism, the numbers speak for themselves

Washington Post commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder and Pat Fagan 

May 13, 2015

In an interview with The Washington Post timed to a high-level summit on combating poverty, Harvard professor Robert Putnam said, "The obvious fact is that over the last 30 years, most organized religion has focused on issues regarding sexual morality, such as abortion, gay marriage, all of those." This is utter nonsense, to the point of absurdity. Broadly speaking, American churches are incredibly generous to the needs of a hurting world. As noted by The Philanthropy Roundtable: "In 2009, overseas relief and development supported by American churches exceeded $13 billion, according to path-breaking calculations by the Hudson Center for Global Prosperity."

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Surrendering Neither Grace Nor Truth in the Religious Liberty Debate

Christian Post commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 14, 2015

Recently, the news has been tough for Christians here at home. Stories involving the erosion of religious liberty in America, as in the failure in Indiana to protect the rights of business persons who don't wish to participate in same-sex weddings, have persuaded some that the chips are not only down but depleted. As a result, some Christians seem to be heralding cultural defeat and advocating a gracious concession to the other side. They urge us, in as many words, to reduce our witness to acts of private charity and church ministry.

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Why Do We Need Louisiana's Marriage and Conscience Act? Ask Indiana Pizza Owners

Daily Signal commentary by Travis Weber

April 13, 2015

Nevertheless, such people are increasingly being ostracized, fired and facing death threats simply because of such beliefs. All of this makes protection of their individual rights and civil liberties even more crucial. Protecting their rights is what Louisiana's Marriage and Conscience Act (H.B. 707) would do. This bill would prohibit the government from taking "any adverse action against a person" due to that person's "religious belief[s] or moral convictions[s] about the institution of marriage."

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Navy forces chaplain to choose between faith and job

FoxNews

March 17, 2015

Five months ago the Navy called him the "best of the best." But now, Chaplain Wes Modder could be kicked out of the military over issues of intolerance and insensitivity to other cultures. Lt. Cmdr. Modder has been accused of failing to show "tolerance and respect" in private counseling sessions regarding issues pertaining to faith marriage and sexuality - including homosexuality. On March 16 the Navy rejected Modder's claim that he was being singled out because of his Christian faith. LTG (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, who now serves as executive vice president at the Family Research Council, said a chaplain isn’t worth anything if he isn’t allowed to minister and counsel according to his faith. "The Navy has to decide whether it wants a chaplain corps or social workers only.”

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61% Oppose Supreme Court Forcing Marriage Redefinition

Family Research Council

February 24, 2015

Today, Family Research Council (FRC) and a coalition of pro-family organizations released the results of a commissioned national survey conducted by WPA Opinion Research showing that 61 percent of Americans agree that "states and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the Supreme Court should not force all 50 states to redefine marriage." The survey also found that 53 percent of Americans agree that marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman. An overwhelming majority (81 percent) of Americans agree that government should "leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses."

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Homosexual Marriage: A Watershed Issue for Evangelicals

The Christian Post commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 20, 2014

Even as Evangelicals gently but firmly speak the truth about God's teaching regarding human sexual conduct, they need to extend the mercy of Christ to the homosexual men and women God brings into their lives. If Evangelicals have homosexual neighbors, they need to treat them with the same warmth and respect they should treat anyone else. If their kids become friends with children raised by same-sex couples, those little ones should be welcomed as eagerly as any other child. If one's homosexual colleague is in the hospital, visit him, do his yard work, drive him home, and so on. Yet law and public policy are different matters. Just as water does not collect atop an apex - it flows down one side or the other - so there are only two sides to the debate over legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

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Why Top Catholic Education Organization Says Common Core Could Threaten Religious Liberty

The Blaze

August 21, 2014

Because of shrinking budgets and the onerous cost of buying non-Common Core compliant text books, private schools are more willing to accept the standards for financial reasons, said Sarah Perry, a senior fellow and Common Core manager for the Family Research Council, a conservative think tank. "The government is getting its foot in the door," Perry told TheBlaze. "But it hasn't had to push very hard."

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Engaging Culture on All Fronts

Canon and Culture commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 11, 2014

In other words, in addition to showing Christ's love in practical, hands-on ways through our churches, para-church and other ministries, and through individual acts of mercy for our Lord's sake, not to seek legal protection for the unborn and sound medical care for their mothers ... not to use the law to fight the commodification of women through sex trafficking and pornography ... not to use legal means to protect marriage as God designed it and to strengthen the family unit, which is the fundamental means by which we become healthy, functional, productive persons ... and not to work through legislation and the courts to sustain and defend the practice of religious conviction as well as the right of private conscience, recognizing that "freedom of religion" is the foundation of all of our other freedoms ... is to abandon a massive sphere of human experience to evil.

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Helping orphaned children is far more important than being politically correct

Washington Examiner commentary by Leanna Baumer

August 1, 2014

But increasingly, many families may face barriers in finding an agency able to sympathize with their central values and religious motivation for caring for needy boys and girls. That's because in places such as California, Massachusetts, Illinois and the District of Columbia, some faith-based child welfare service providers have been forced to halt services simply because they believe that children do best when raised by a mom and a dad. In Illinois alone, a 2011 change in law has forced Catholic and evangelical Christian child welfare service providers to stop serving over 2,000 children

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Obamacare Drug Mandate Loses, Women Win

Daily Caller commentary by Cathy Ruse

July 1, 2014

What do women on the bench think about the mandate? Most of them don't like it. So far, women judges in the lower courts have voted to stop the mandate 24 times. In only 15 cases have they voted to let it proceed. Yesterday's votes from the high court don't change the equation. Surprisingly, even after having been assaulted by the "war on women" rhetoric for two years, the average American woman still holds an unfavorable view of the contraceptive mandate. In poll after poll, more women oppose it than support it.

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Marriage, Polygamy, and Religious Liberty

FRC commentary by Peter Sprigg and Travis Weber

June 6, 2014

Religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, RFRA, and other laws. However, religious freedom rights should not protect the practice of polygamy, which has such widespread and destructive consequences that it threatens the very foundation of the governmental order which allows our constitutional freedoms to exist. For this reason, and the many compelling government interests outlined above, the government should be able to prohibit polygamy-even in the face of religious liberty laws like RFRA which apply strict scrutiny to any government regulation substantially burdening religious exercise.

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Groups push military for more religious liberty

Washington Times commentary by Gary Bauer

May 28, 2014

U.S. troops are fighting to defend the First Amendment but are not being allowed to fully exercise it, a member of the House Committee on Armed Services said Wednesday. Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, criticized the military for appearing "zealous to shut down expressions of faith. This is our military telling service members to raise their hands and ask permission before they dare to utter an expression of faith," Mr. Fleming said during a speech at the Family Research Council.

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Religious liberty should trump HHS mandate

USA Today commentary by Tony Perkins, James Lankford

February 10, 2014

But two years ago, the rules changed for every business. As of 2013, the Green family had to decide if they would follow their faith or follow the Obama administration's new regulations. The Green family, through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, will file its brief with the Supreme Court Monday seeking relief from paying a daily fine of potentially more than $1.3 million for refusing to violate their biblically based views on life.

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A high-minded threat to personal liberty

Tony Perkins in The Washington Times

November 7, 2013

Even more alarming than the lack of a strong religious exemption, however, is the prospect that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would lead to a form of reverse discrimination, whereby anyone who expresses or promotes a view of family or morality that can be interpreted to be a disapproval of homosexual conduct or disagreement with elements of the homosexual political agenda (such as the redefinition of marriage) will be subject to retaliation and discrimination.

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Senate adds stronger religious protections to workplace discrimination bill

Washington Times

November 6, 2013

David Christensen, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, said the amendment does not go far enough to protect the religious freedom of nonprofit groups and business owners. "Senators may be looking for political cover from this amendment, but ENDA removes the ability of non-profits, para-church ministries, and individual business owners to make their own decisions about appropriate conduct in the workplace," he said Wednesday in a statement. "People's religious freedom rights do not stop at their front door on their way to work, whether they are a business owner or employee."

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Christians relay stories of religious repression

Washington Times

October 13, 2013

The Survey of Religious Hostility in America has found about 1,200 current incidents of religious persecution - about twice as many as last year, the Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council said in a report. The survey tallies challenges to public prayer in schools and in public events, efforts to remove crosses on veterans memorials, and rejection of public displays of Nativity scenes and the Ten Commandments. It also includes cases in which companies with religious convictions are forced to abide by health care rules that require coverage for "abortion-inducing" products.

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Family Research Council May Challenge HHS Contraceptive Mandate

Citizen Link article by Bethany Monk

October 25, 2012

The Texas-based legal firm Liberty Institute sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking officials to clarify whether the Family Research Council (FRC) must offer contraceptives and possible abortion-inducing drugs under its employee health care plan.
FRC - a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C. non-profit organization dedicated to advancing faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview - is one of many similar groups nationwide that falls into a gray area under the HHS rule, issued earlier this year.

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Obama Mandate: The Gravest Threat to Religious Freedom in 226 Years

American Thinker commentary - K. Blackwell and B. Morrison

October 7, 2012

James Madison famously said that the people are right to take alarm at the "first advance on their liberties." The Obama mandate will force us to violate our consciences. President Obama famously said that he doesn't know when human life begins, but he's willing to force us to collaborate in the destruction of innocent human lives.

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Common Ground or Not, Letís Do Whatís Right

FRC blog by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 29, 2012

Some well-meaning souls are calling for Christians to stand-down in the battle for our culture and simply be nice to everybody.  In practical terms, this means abandoning the unborn, their mothers, marriage and the family, and religious liberty to those who would harm them.

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Congressmen to Obama: See you in court

WorldNet Daily

August 25, 2012

David Stevens, MD and CEO of the Christian Medical Association: “What will stop this administration, with its radical pro-abortion agenda, from further undermining conscience rights and pursuing policies that effectively force out of medicine physicians with life-honoring convictions? Who will keep government panels from effectively denying physicians and patients choice about what are the most effective and appropriate medicines, surgeries and treatments? We call on Congress to turn back this law’s assault on our freedoms and restore American values and constitutional principles in health care.”

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Emergency Contraception: We need an unbiased review of the facts

Family Research Council blog by Jeanne Monahan

June 7, 2012

In the end, this conversation requires caution and continued unbiased research. The difference between preventing and destroying life is immensely significant to women who choose to take these drugs. Women have the right to know about all of the scientific research, not merely the research supporting an individual ideology.

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Catholic bishops strike back

Washington Times commentary by Cathy Ruse

May 23, 2012

In January, the Obama administration hit Catholic employers with arguably the most religiously-oppressive government directive in modern American history: Provide free abortion drugs and birth control pills in your health insurance plans, in flagrant violation of your religious beliefs, or face legal punishment. This week the bishops of the Catholic Church hit back. In one of the largest legal actions to defend religious liberty in U.S. history, Catholic organizations filed a dozen lawsuits across the country claiming the Obama Health and Human Services Department rule violates the right to religious freedom set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

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House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on contraceptives coercion

"Executive Overreach: The HHS Mandate Versus Religious Liberty"

February 28, 2012

The Judiciary Committee held a hearing Feb. 28, 2012 entitled, "Executive Overreach: The HHS Mandate Versus Religious Liberty" Watch video clips:

  • Rep. Sandy Adams' exchange with witnesses Jeanne Monahan, Asma Uddin & Bishop Lori
  • Witness Jeanne Monahan's exchange with Chairman Lamar Smith
  • Witness Bishop Lori's exchange with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner
  • Witness Asma Uddin's exchange with Rep. Trent Franks (Part 2)
  • Witness Bishop Lori's exchange with Rep. Ted Poe

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