Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Recent assaults on our freedoms:

--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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Urge your lawmakers to keep the Abortion Non-Discrimination baby_image_pregnant_doctor_facing_RIGHTshutterstock_155725598 200 pix w.jpgAct in HR 3020: Prevent abortion coercion - protect patient access to pro-life doctors and nurses.

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In the News

Republicans accuse Obama of failing to enforce abortion law

The Hill

January 29, 2016

"The Office of Civil Rights knows this is an important issue, as you have said, and that time is of the essence," Burwell told lawmakers. That was 11 months ago. With no results to speak of, Republican lawmakers are crying foul. "I think that [President Obama] ought to go back and read the Constitution, because he is not upholding what has been passed by Congress," said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.). "Congress passed the law. He ought to enforce the law. That's his job." Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, said he had raised the issue with Burwell by phone, but that all he hears back is "they're investigating." "They just blow you off, basically," he added.

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Filed under: AbortionConscience freedomHealthcare

Transgender student brings court fight over bathrooms to federal court

Richmond Times-Dispatch

January 27, 2016

A transgender student's fight to use a boys bathroom at his Gloucester County school went before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday. Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union asked a three-judge panel to overturn a district court's denial of a preliminary injunction.One point of contention throughout the hearing was the definition of gender, whether it was based on biological or psychological factors. Judge Andre M. Davis asked how the School Board defined gender when crafting the bathroom policy. "This is 2016," Davis said. "The question is what is the meaning of sex in 2016?" The U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice have come out in support of Grimm in court papers, saying the policy constitutes unlawful bias under Title IX.

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Filed under: CourtsEducationGender

A War of Choice

The Weekly Standard commentary by Joseph Bottum

January 25, 2016

Recently, however, the Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino, writing one of the many amici briefs for the Little Sisters case, has directed attention to emails from officials at the IRS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Why has the Obama administration insisted on applying an unrelated tax regulation (a provision defining the entities that have to file tax returns) to determine which religious groups fall under the contraception mandates of Obamacare? The answer starts to emerge when, in the light of the administration's intransigence in the Little Sisters case, we look back at those emails. In October 2011, for example, Medicare's Alexis Ahlstrom wrote her agency's law and policy advisers to find out "what student health plans at catholic universities cover today."

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Filed under: CourtsObamacareContraception

Sexual Assault Victims Speak Out Against Washington's Transgender Bathroom Policies

The Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

January 25, 2016

The Daily Signal met with Simon, Triller Haver, and Flores in Washington's state capital to learn why they're breaking their silence about their past experiences to fight what they believe are dangerous new policies. "There is no doubt in my mind that many, many people will be hurt with this kind of policy," Simon said. The policies, which went into effect Dec. 26, grant individuals full access to bathrooms, locker rooms and other gender-specific facilities in accordance with their chosen gender identity instead of their anatomical sex.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationLegislationGender

Cost and conscience - why more Christians are ditching health insurance for this alternative

Catholic News Agency

January 24, 2016

Enrollment in health-sharing ministries is allowed under the Affordable Care Act, provided the ministries existed before the year 2000. Membership in the three largest health-sharing ministries - Samaritan Ministries International, Christian Care Ministry or "Medi-Share," and Christian Healthcare Ministries - has risen significantly since 2013, jumping from around 190,000 members nationwide to over 311,000 at the end of 2014, according to the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List. “We need to go back to what we were as an early Christian community,” said Louis Brown, the director of CMF CURO, a Catholic health-sharing ministry that has partnered with Samaritan Ministries.

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Obama's Hypocrisy on Religious Freedom

The Daily Signal commentary by Melody Wood

January 21, 2016

Obama is correct. All Americans should be able to be free to live out their religious principles. Yet some of the greatest threats to religious freedom in America in recent years have come from policies he supports. The Obamacare contraceptive mandate, for example, has resulted in government persecution of an order of religious sisters. The Little Sisters of the Poor seek to continue their mission of serving the elderly poor while operating in accordance with their religious beliefs without fear of incurring government penalties. With the Obamacare requirement in place, they face millions in government fines for doing so.

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Filed under: Religious freedomContraceptionHeritage Foundation

Proposed Obama Rule on Transgender Persons Could Affect Homeless Shelters

The Daily Signal commentary by Melody Wood

January 20, 2016

A comment submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development by the Christian Medical Association, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, and similar organizations highlights the problems that the proposed regulation poses for religious liberty. It argues that some of the shelters that would be affected by this rule "may consider it impermissible on religious grounds, for example, to share sleeping and bathing areas with adults to whom they are neither married nor related and who are biologically of the opposite sex."

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Should You Get An Obamacare Conscience Tax Exemption?

The Federalist commentary by Casey Mattox

January 20, 2016

The Obama administration has been trying to force private organizations into paying for abortion and abortifacients while backing off from forcing individuals to do the same. This spring, the Obama administration will again ask the Supreme Court to allow it to force Catholic nuns, Christian universities, and other nonprofits to help deliver abortion-inducing drugs to their employees in violation of their religious beliefs. While the administration continues to defend that mandate, however, it has largely-but quietly-relented on another Obamacare requirement that forced citizens of some states pay a surcharge for others' elective abortions.

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Filed under: ObamacareAbortionAlliance Defending Freedom

LGBT Activists Target Christian Colleges over Title IX Exemptions

Christian Headlines

January 20, 2016

An LGBT activist group has singled out Christian colleges in a recent report, claiming they use religious liberty as a "guise for discrimination" against LGBT students. Since 2013, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 56 colleges have applied for partial exemptions to Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, citing views on transgenderism and homosexuality. The group is calling on Congress and the Department of Education to broadcast information about these schools to prospective students.

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Filed under: Religious freedomEducationGender

US Supreme Court agrees to tackle religious hostility by states

Alliance Defending Freedom

January 15, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to take up a case that addresses the question of whether states can exhibit hostility to religion by prohibiting churches and church-run organizations from participating in state programs solely because the groups are religious. ADF attorneys represent a church-run pre-school and daycare center which the state of Missouri excluded from a program that provides recycled tire products to surface children's playgrounds. "No state can define religious neutrality as treating religious organizations worse than everyone else," said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman.

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomEducation

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