Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Recent assaults on our freedoms:

--a federal regulation forcing health professionals to comply with transgender ideology or lose funding;
--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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Tell how you are impacted by the new regulation on transgender ideology, or how you have experienced discrimination in healthcare because of your conscience and convictions.

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In the News

Catholic Hospitals Should Not Have to Sterilize Patients

National Review commentary by Alexandra Desanctis

August 19, 2016

But it establishes a dangerous precedent to pressure those with conscientious objections to perform what they believe are grossly immoral acts. In fact, the day may come when those on the left appreciate the protections that our Constitution, and our civil society, afford to conscience. They would do well to recognize the value of these protections while they can.

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Filed under: AbortionReligious freedomHealthcare

USCCB, others oppose HHS gender-bender proposed rule

Official comment

August 12, 2016

The proposed regulations would forbid discrimination on the bases of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." In these comments, we identify and discuss four problems relating to this prohibition. The first concerns the statutory authority under which CMS claims to be promulgating the regulations. The second concerns interpretations of the proposed prohibition that could interfere with a hospital's professional judgment about what procedures or services are ethical, medically appropriate, or in a patient's best interest. The third concerns interpretations of the proposed prohibition that could compromise the health, safety, or privacy of other patients. The fourth concerns the right of religiously affiliated hospitals to carry out their mission free from government coercion to violate their religious beliefs, a right safeguarded, sometimes with reference to particular procedures and sometimes in more general terms, in federal law. Download file 1608 USCCB et al comment CMS gender bender rule.pdf 

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Filed under: U.S. Conf. Catholic BishopsGenderHealthcare

College Football Becomes Latest Goal Line for LGBT Activists

Daily Signal commentary by Genevieve Wood

August 10, 2016

Considering the above, of all the schools thought to be in contention to join the Big 12, Brigham Young University should be a top contender. It most certainly has a larger national following than several other teams said to be in the running, such as Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, or Memphis. But there is just one problem. Brigham Young, a university run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has an honor code that, shocker of shockers, aligns with its religious beliefs. One of those Mormon beliefs is that homosexual behavior is incompatible with the church's religious tenets. That has the LGBT bully community all aflutter and demanding that the Big 12 not allow BYU to enter the conference because, in their view, the university has an "express policy of discriminating against same-sex couples and LGBTQ students." Well, let's take a look.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHomosexualityEducation

Anti-abortion centers, doctor sue Rauner over 'conscience' law

Chicago Sun-Times

August 5, 2016

The bill requires that doctors who are unwilling to perform or participate in abortions, or other procedures, such as sterilization, provide a referral for another doctor or another medical center in a timely manner. The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the plaintiffs, including Dr. Anthony Caruso, who practices medicine in Downers Grove at the Bella Baby OBGYN center, as well as the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford and Aid for Women, a Chicago non-profit that runs six pregnancy help centers and two residential programs. The suit claims the bill violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998, and violates Free Speech Protections of the Illinois Constitution by being "forced to speak" about services that are against their own beliefs. It also claims the bill violates the Freedom of Religion, and the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

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Filed under: AbortionAlliance Defending FreedomLegislation

Video: Title IX & Transgender Bathrooms in Public Schools

Federalist Society video featuring Roger Severino

August 5, 2016

Roger Severino oversees the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, where he focuses on religious liberty, marriage, and life issues. In this video, Severino comments on a joint guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education on how schools should apply Title IX to the bathroom choices of transgender students.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationEducationGender

A Rough Road Ahead for Religious Liberty, World Missions

Breakpoint commentary by Stan Guthrie

August 4, 2016

According to Open Doors, Christians are being martyred at an accelerated pace over the last three years, by a variety of groups, including ISIS. Open Doors counts more than 7,000 Christians killed for their faith last year, a substantial increase from 4,344 in 2014 and 2,123 in 2013. These figures do not necessarily include Iraq, Syria, or North Korea, where accurate numbers are hard to come by. The 2016 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also paints a grim picture. "By any measure," the 276-page report says, "religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since . . . 2015." The victims are not just Christians, either, the report says: "From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe . . .there was no shortage of suffering."

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Filed under: Religious freedomPersecution

What Lawmakers Can Do to Protect Rights of Pro-Life Medical Professionals

Daily Signal commentary by Jana Minich and Elizabeth Slattery

August 3, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also emphasized the need for legislation like this: "There have been cases of nurses being suspended or threatened with firing solely for the offense of following their conscience. And now, the state of California requires all health insurance plans to cover abortion. ... Allowing this trend to continue will only erode our First Amendment rights even further. It will continue to push people of faith onto the sidelines of society." The troubling trend of marginalizing religious believers, attempting to restrict religious exercise to within the four walls of a house of worship, and stripping Americans of their right to conscience has been a hallmark of the last eight years, and one that will only continue if Americans do not stand up for the right to act according to their conscience.

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Filed under: AbortionHeritage FoundationLegislation

Defending religious liberty

Washington Times commentary by Frank. R. Wolf

July 27, 2016

During my time in Congress I often reached out to Chuck Colson for his wise advice and counsel. I am struck by Chuck's foresight on the erosion of our religious liberty. [He wrote:] "I believe we are heading for a new Dark Ages, with persecution coming to the church soon. It's going to happen as a result of conflicts over sex. This is where modern human beings do not want to be in any way restrained. They will accept the law that governs them in just about every area of their lives except sexual passion. We must reflect on how we defend religious liberty. We don't want to defend it by claiming our opponents are bigots. Instead, we have to show why, if we allow the government to take away our freedom of conscience, we're going to lose all other liberties. That's the kind of approach that is going to have to be made to get a majority of the people with us."

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomPersecution

Administration: Single-Payer System Stops Religious Freedom Challenges to Abortifacient Mandate

CNS News commentary by Terence Jeffrey

July 27, 2016

In their argument to the court, the Justice Department lawyers had suggested another vision for stopping cases challenging government health insurance mandates on religious grounds. "It also follows that there would be no viable RFRA challenge if Congress had adopted a single-payer system in which the government provided health coverage including preventive services to all Americans and required all Americans to pay premiums to pay for that coverage," the Justice Department lawyers told the court. "The fact that Congress chose to accomplish the same goal through the less-intrusive means of regulating the existing system of private health insurance provides no sound basis for reaching a different conclusion: The interests in universal participation in a comprehensive system are the same." In other words: When government takes complete control of the health care system, there will be no room for religious liberty.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomHealthcare

Medical Groups Sue Over Vermont Requirement to Counsel Patients on Assisted Suicide

Christian News

July 23, 2016

wo medical groups have filed a federal lawsuit to challenge language in the Vermont's assisted suicide law that they believe requires physicians to counsel patients about ending their lives. The Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and Tennessee-based Christian Medical Association were represented in the suit on Tuesday, along with several doctors in the state who are concerned about how the government interprets the "Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act," also known as Act 39. "The government shouldn't be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine," Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Steven Aden said in a statement announcing the suit. "These doctors and other health care workers deeply believe that suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves. The state has no authority to order them to act contrary to that sincere and time-honored conviction."

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Filed under: Alliance Defending FreedomHealthcareEnd of life

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