• A coercive contraceptive mandate imposes pro-abortion ideology on all with pro-life views.
• The gutting of the only federal conscience regulation in health care opens the door to discrimination.
• The denial of federal funds to a ministry, just for opposing abortions, threatens care for human trafficking victims.
• The administration's court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights minimizes religious liberty.
• Firings, discrimination and coercion of life-honoring health care professionals imperil health care access.
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A judge in Washington state ruled this week that a 70-year-old florist who declined to make flower arrangements for a gay couple's wedding violated the state's anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws. In a phone interview with The Daily Signal, Barronelle Stutzman said the decision-and its accompanying fines-will put her flower shop out of business, or worse. After the fines and legal fees, "There won't be anything left," Stutzman said. "They want my home, they want my business, they want my personal finances as an example for other people to be quiet."
To tax someone or something is to exercise sovereign power over that person or thing. But then, quite obviously, any state or federal taxation of churches or religious organizations would constitute an exercise of sovereignty by the state over the church-that is, over religion. To maintain that government has the power to tax religious organizations is to affirm the sovereignty of state over church. To affirm that proposition is to reject any meaningful distinction-much less separation-between church and state. In short, those who advocate the right of the state to tax religious organizations are abandoning the separation of church and state.
A court battle in the Pacific Northwest has opened another front in the fight over religious liberty, raising questions over whether pharmacies are legally obligated to provide patients with emergency contraception despite moral objections. "The opponents to religious liberty keep escalating their demands," says Douglas Laycock, a law and religious studies professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. "People who are offended by religious opposition to emergency contraception may bring political pressure to enact such rules despite the lack of any need for them."
The government could easily open those subsidies to any employees of religious groups who want the coverage not included in their employers' plan. This would satisfy the government's concerns, satisfy the ministries' religious beliefs, and ensure that Americans still receive vital services from groups like the Little Sisters. For that reason, the Eighth Circuit Court of appeals sided with religious ministries last week. Echoing a unanimous Supreme Court opinion on religious freedom, it said, "[I]f a less restrictive means is available for the Government to achieve its goals, the Government must use it."
A reasonable response would be for parents and students to boycott rather than subsidize such universities, and for Congress to cut off all federal aid to public institutions like the University of Washington that violate the Constitution. Then the faculty and administrators can parade around in robes and soft hats in their multi-million-dollar auditoriums and prattle on about transphobia, species-ism, GOP-ism, and whatever else they can't tolerate, all day long--until they have to get to the unemployment offices before closing time.
Want a good grade in certain classes at Washington State University? Then you better avoid using the terms "illegal immigrant," "male" and "female" as part of your descriptive vocabulary. Universities around the country have recently release lists of banned words and phrases that professors consider "microagressions." Terms on those lists include "American," questions like, "where are you from" and the concept that hard work is how individuals get ahead in life.
The citizens of Rowan County have a right to receive in a timely and efficient manner the various government provisions-including licenses-to which they are entitled. At the same time, the employees of Rowan County (including civil servants) have rights, including religious liberty rights, and they are entitled to religious accommodations. But a religious accommodation, like religious liberty in general, is not absolute.
Gov. Mike Huckabee:"She's a Democrat, and I salute her today. I stand with her."
Carly Fiorina: "When you are a government employee...you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government."
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fl): "While the clerk's office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.): "As a public official, comply with the law or resign."
Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.): "I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for the states to just get out of the business of giving out licenses."
Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.): "Someone who works in the government has a bit of a different obligation than someone who's in the private sector."
Davis - who stopped issuing licenses to all couples, gay and straight - had not indicated late Monday how she would respond to the court's decision. Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal group that is representing Davis, demurred earlier Monday when asked how she would respond if she lost. "She's not going to resign, but to issue a marriage license is a direct conflict with her religious convictions," he said. "So it would put her in a real Catch-22 over having to make a decision about her convictions."
We are delighted that the court has ruled in our favor on this crucially important case," March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement. "The government should not be allowed to force organizations like the March for Life to have health insurance with drugs and devices that can cause an abortion."
"Pro-life organizations should not be forced into betraying the very values they were established to advance," enior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom Matt Bowman said in a statement. "This is especially true of March for Life, which was founded to uphold life, not to assist in taking it."