Protecting our first freedoms:
Faith, conscience and speech

Voice your values: Legislative action

Read: Faith Steps: How to winsomely engage on controversial public policy issues. 
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It's time to restore the First Amendment and stop attacks on religious free exercise:

--Coercing health professionals and redefining sex discrimination: the 2016 HHS transgender mandate;
--Squelching First Amendment freedoms on campuses: barring campus faith expression;
--Forcing nuns to violate religious tenets: 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 programs for victims: HHS grant scandal;
--Government intrusion on churches' hiring freedom: Supreme Court Hosanna Tabor case;
--Firing and coercing life-honoring health care professionals and students: personal stories of discrimination.

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

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In the News

Supreme Court to Review Case of a Baker Told He Must Bake Gay Wedding Cake

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

June 26, 2017

the court also agreed to review ("granted cert" in the legal jargon) a case about religious liberty, free speech, and government coercion to support gay marriage. The case involves Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, and whether he must create wedding cakes for same-sex weddings, even if doing so violates his beliefs. The case goes back to 2012, when a same-sex couple received a marriage license in Massachusetts and asked Phillips to bake a cake for a reception back home in Colorado, a state that in 2006 constitutionally defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Phillips declined to create a wedding cake, citing his faith: "I don't feel like I should participate in their wedding, and when I do a cake, I feel like I am participating in the ceremony or the event or the celebration that the cake is for," he said.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationHomosexuality

Huge religious freedom victory at US Supreme Court

ADF news release

June 26, 2017

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer: "The government should treat children's safety at religious schools the same as it does at nonreligious schools. The Supreme Court's decision today affirms that commonsense principle and the larger truth that government isn't being neutral when it treats religious organizations worse than everyone else. Equal treatment of a religious organization in a program that provides only secular benefits, like a partial reimbursement grant for playground surfacing, isn't a government endorsement of religion. As the Supreme Court rightly found, unequal treatment that singles out a preschool for exclusion from such a program simply because a church runs the school is clearly unconstitutional."

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Filed under: CourtsAlliance Defending FreedomEducation

U.S. bishops launch 2017 Fortnight for Freedom with New Video

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

June 26, 2017

In a new video marking the beginning of this year’s Fortnight for Freedom, the U.S. bishops invited legal, religious, and other personalities to discuss the importance of religious liberty, and to address the struggle between the Little Sisters of the Poor and the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

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Filed under: VideoReligious freedomContraceptionU.S. Conf. Catholic Bishops

Circuit Court Win for Religious Freedom on Gay Marriage

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

June 22, 2017

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday that a Mississippi law that protects religious liberty and the rights of conscience in light of the redefinition of marriage may go into effect. So, what does the Mississippi law do? As previously explained at The Daily Signal: Religious organizations, like churches, cannot be forced to use their facilities to celebrate or solemnize weddings that violate their beliefs. Religious convents, universities, and social service organizations can continue to maintain personnel and housing policies that reflect their beliefs. Religious adoption agencies can continue to operate by their conviction that every child they serve deserves to be placed with a married mom and dad. Bakers, photographers, florists, and similar wedding-specific vendors cannot be forced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings if they cannot do so in good conscience.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationMarriageHomosexuality

Senator Lankford Discusses the Weldon Amendment with Sec. Price

Congressional hearing video

June 19, 2017

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) questions HHS Secretary Price about the Weldon Amendment, which bans government coercion regarding abortion, and California's government coercion regarding abortion.

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Filed under: VideoAbortionConscience freedom

Pope Honors Religious Freedom Champion

Cardinal Newman Society

June 16, 2017

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) founder Alan Sears and his wife, Paula, have been chosen by Pope Francis for the highest possible honor the Catholic Church bestows on laypeople. The couple will be knighted into the Order of St. Gregory the Great. "ADF has been an extraordinary help to Catholic educators and The Cardinal Newman Society over the past decade, as Catholic schools and colleges faced serious threats to their mission and religious freedom," said Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. "What the Sears' have accomplished by their hard work, generosity and deep faith in Christ is a testament to God's grace and mercy. The honor is much-deserved."

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending Freedom

Blunt Questions HHS Secretary Price About Religious Freedom Protections

Congressional hearing video

June 15, 2017

On Thursday, June 15, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, questioned HHS Secretary Tom Price about the department's efforts to protect the religious freedoms of faith-based organizations, like Little Sisters of the Poor. VIDEO

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Filed under: VideoReligious freedomCongress

Will Trump's Tax Reforms Reduce Giving to Churches?

Christian Post

June 14, 2017

At issue is the blueprint in the House of Representatives which doubles the standard deduction, effectively removing a stratum of people who normally give but would no longer qualify for a charitable deduction on their taxes. Brian Walsh, a Washington-based attorney and executive director for the Faith & Giving Coalition, believes the many on Capitol Hill are making some "faulty assumptions" about the nature of religious giving. "There is a certain amount of giving that is tied directly to the benefits of the charitable deduction and if you reduce the number of people who get those benefits, you are going to reduce charitable giving across the board."

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Filed under: CongressCharities

High School: Students May Not Pray or Mention Jesus

Todd Starnes

June 13, 2017

Moriah Bridges wanted to thank God for His immeasurable blessings on Beaver High School's graduating class. But she could not, because she was told it was against the law. "The selected students may still address their class and indicate the things that they wish/hope for their class, but they may not do it in the style of a prayer and most certainly may not recite a prayer that excludes other religions (by ending ‘in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" or "in the matchless name of Jesus,'" principal Steven Wellendorf wrote to Moriah in a letter. "The last lesson this school district taught its students is that they should hide their religious beliefs from public view," First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys told me. "That fails the test of the First Amendment. School officials - in violation of the First Amendment - forced Moriah to censor her personal remarks during the closing exercise of her commencement ceremony merely because of the religious viewpoint of her remarks," the attorney said.

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Filed under: Free speechEducationFirst Liberty

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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Filed under: Religious freedomCongressFamily Research Council

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