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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Faith Steps: How to winsomely engage on controversial public policy issues. 

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In the News

Faith-based physicians adopt transgender identification ethics statement

Christian Medical Association

May 23, 2016

CMA affirms the historic and enduring Christian understanding of humankind as having been created male and female. CMA has concerns about recent usage of the term "gender" to emphasize an identity other than one's biological sex, that is, a sense of self based on subjective feelings or desires of identifying more strongly with the opposite sex or with some combination of male and female. CMA affirms the obligation of Christian healthcare professionals to care for patients struggling with gender identity with sensitivity and compassion. CMA holds that attempts to alter gender surgically or hormonally for psychological indications, however, are medically inappropriate, as they repudiate nature, are unsupported by the witness of Scripture, and are inconsistent with Christian thinking on gender in every prior age. Accordingly, CMA opposes medical assistance with gender transition on the following grounds...

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationGenderHealthcare

United Healthcare's Obamacare Drop Erodes The Conscience Safety Net

The Federalist commentary by Casey Mattox and Chuck Donovan

May 10, 2016

Today people disagree on a profound range of ethically grounded decisions about practices, from abortion to in vitro fertilization to assisted suicide, that go to the heart of what citizens believe properly constitutes health care. Combine these deepening differences with a tendency to bureaucratize and centralize health-care financing and administration, and profound clashes are sure to follow. It is nearly impossible for average citizens to discern whether their plans cover elective abortion before enrolling, much less the import of that fact—that they are paying a hidden abortion surcharge. UH’s exit is not just a sign of the economic problems facing Obamacare; it may also expose more Americans to the “choice” to pay for elective abortions or be fined. 

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Filed under: Alliance Defending FreedomCharlotte Lozier InstituteConscience freedom

DOJ's Lawsuit Against North Carolina Is Abuse of Power

Daily Signal commentary by Roger Severino

May 9, 2016

I'm very disappointed in my former colleagues at the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. They know very well that when Congress banned discrimination "on the basis of sex" in 1964 and 1972, it did not mean "gender identity." It disrespects the very notion of the rule of law for them to hold otherwise, but that is exactly what they have done by threatening North Carolina with lawsuits, fines, and revocation of federal funds because they dared to write in law what most people consider simple common sense-that biological men should not be given unfettered access to public bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms set aside for the needs, safety, and privacy of biological women.

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Filed under: CommentariesHeritage FoundationGender

Lawmaker: "Big Brother" Shouldn't Force Americans to Participate in Abortions

Daily Signal commentary by Leah Jessen

May 6, 2016

One of the groups that signed the letter, Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid group, has filed two lawsuits challenging the California rule that has forced churches to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans. "California is a perfect example of why this legislation is so necessary," Casey Mattox, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel, told The Daily Signal. "The administration has failed to enforce federal law and churches are left paying for abortions as a result." Other organizations signed onto the letter include the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Medical Association, American College of Pediatricians, Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, and California Nurses for Ethical Standards.

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Filed under: AbortionChristian Medical AssociationLegislation

2015 Saw A Decrease In Religious Freedom Around The World, Says Annual Report

NPR

May 2, 2016

The global refugee crisis, political strife and economic dislocation all contributed to a worldwide deterioration of religious freedom in 2015 and an increase in "societal intolerance," according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. "At best, in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve," says Princeton professor Robert George, the USCIRF chairman. "At worst, they've spiraled downward." In its annual report, the commission identified 17 countries as "Tier One" concerns, meaning they have "particularly severe religious violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious."

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Filed under: Religious freedomPersecution

What the 'bathroom wars' tell us about our culture

Washington Examiner commentary by Kim Holmes

May 2, 2016

No, they must press their agenda with obnoxious boycotts, draconian court rulings and by rewriting the laws to force their views on everyone else. Tolerance is not enough. They demand complete and utter conformity to their point of view. Why so authoritarian? The higher aim of progressive liberalism today is to deconstruct traditional morality, especially as it pertains to the family, marriage and sexual relations. The only way to enforce the new "tolerance" is not only to deny other people their rights - the rights of women and children to privacy in bathrooms, for example - but also to be intolerant of any kind of dissent whatsoever.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationGender

Resist or Accommodate Evil: There is No "Third Way"

Witherspoon Institute commentary by Jeffery J. Ventrella

May 1, 2016

[orig. pub. 1/27/15] The simple truth is this: one need not be required to take innocent life before one ought to be able to stand firm in one’s conscience against an unjust law. As the tradition teaches, even the tiniest pinch of incense to Caesar is too much compromise for a well-formed conscience. Indeed, stopping an unjust law before it leads to innocent bloodshed is morally preferable, is it not? Ask King—or, if you prefer, St. Thomas More, Maximilian Kolbe, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. When conscience flirts with the idea of accommodating an unjust law, it must politely, yet firmly, reject the sirens of seduction. Any other result would be—in a word—compromise.

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Filed under: Alliance Defending FreedomConscience freedomHomosexuality

Attempt to Send Religious Liberty Bill Straight to the People Fails in Missouri

Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

April 27, 2016

The idea behind the measure, Johnson, president of Missouri Alliance for Freedom, told The Daily Signal in an earlier interview, was to give people the opportunity to vote on the "religious freedom vs. gay marriage contest" for the first time since the Supreme Court ruled on the issue last June. Supporters say if SJR 39 were to take effect, it would ban government discrimination against people of faith because of their beliefs about marriage. Schools and charities, for example, would be protected from losing access to government programs because of their beliefs about marriage.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationLegislation

US Commission on Civil Rights Fails to Understand Religious Liberty Laws

Daily Signal commentary by Jane Clark Scharl

April 27, 2016

The commission says Tennessee's H.B. 1840, which was passed by the legislature and is awaiting the governor's decision, "will permit mental health professionals to deny counseling services to LGBT people based upon ‘sincerely held religious beliefs."' The dissent more accurately describes the bill, which allows counselors or therapists whose beliefs "conflict with a potential client's ‘goals, outcomes or behaviors' to decline to offer counseling/therapy to that potential client, provided that he or she refers the potential client to someone who will." Far from denying service, the bill actually "decreases the likelihood" that someone seeking counseling or therapy will be "saddled with a counselor or therapist" whose beliefs don't align with the potential client's counseling goals.

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomHomosexuality

Tennessee Governor Signs Religious Counseling Bill Into Law

ABC News

April 27, 2016

Tennessee's Republican governor said Wednesday that he signed a bill into law that allows mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist's religious or personal beliefs. "As a professional I should have the right to decide if my clients end goals don't match with my beliefs - I should have the right to say somebody else can better serve them," Gov. Bill Haslam said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "Lawyers can do that, doctors can do that. Why would we take this one class of professionals and say you can't do that?"

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Filed under: Religious freedomLegislation

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