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State Could Become First to Stop Transgender Students From Using Opposite-Sex Bathrooms

The Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

February 6, 2016

The legislation requires that a "reasonable accommodation" be made for students asserting their gender is different from their biological sex, and described a reasonable accommodation as "one that does not impose an undue hardship on a school district," "a single-occupancy restroom," "a unisex restroom," or the "controlled use of a restroom, locker room or shower room that is designated for use by faculty." Deutch views his legislation as a necessary response to what he considers "aggressive" actions on behalf of the Obama administration to ensure schools comply with guidance they issued in April 2014.

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Filed under: Heritage FoundationEducationGender

Could it soon be illegal for doctors to believe in male and female?

CNA commentary by Loredana Vuoto

February 3, 2016

A current proposal by a federal agency has raised concerns that doctors may be punished for believing that there are only two genders, rooted in biological sex. Gender identity is defined as "an individual's internal sense of gender, which may be different from an individual's sex assigned at birth." As a result, doctors and medical institutions could be penalized - or even forced out of business - if they are not willing to perform or facilitate sex reassignment surgeries and other "gender transition" treatments for individuals who identify as transsexual. Critics of the suggested regulation say that it is a radical proposal that could result in severe penalties for doctors who cannot in good conscience comply.

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Filed under: Conscience freedomGenderHealthcare

Another Effort to Expand Definition of "Sex" Discrimination

IRFA commentary by Stanley Carlson-Thies

February 1, 2016

It gives no justification at all for its editing of the current WIOA nondiscrimination regulations in order to "replace[] ‘he or she' with ‘the individual,' ‘person,' or other appropriate identifier whenever possible to avoid the gender binary." And while the NPRM states that it is a "policy" commitment of the Department of Labor to ban sexual orientation discrimination, it admits that "[c]urrent law is mixed on whether existing Federal nondiscrimination laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as a part of their prohibitions on sex discrimination" and that no federal appeals court has ruled that way while some have ruled the opposite way. However, the administration is insistent on reaching its policy goals.

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Filed under: CommentariesInstitutional Religious Freedom AllianceGender

Think It Not Strange: Fiery Trials and the Testimony of Christ

Desiring God commentary by John Piper

February 1, 2016

Christianity isn't dying and no research says it is; the statistics about Christians in America are simply starting to show a clearer picture of what American Christianity is becoming - less nominal, more defined, and more outside of the mainstream of American culture. Stetzer puts it like this: The cultural cost of calling yourself "Christian" is starting to outweigh the cultural benefit, so those who do not identify as a "Christian" according to their convictions are starting to identify as "nones" because it's more culturally savvy. So if you picture a continuum with the mere absence of cultural benefits for Christians on one end, and the aggressive persecution of Christians on the other end, Christianity in America is now on that continuum and is moving from indifference to derision to exclusion to hostility.

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Filed under: CommentariesPollingPersecution

Faith and the 2016 Campaign

Pew Research Center

February 1, 2016

The study also shows that having a president who shares their religious beliefs is important to many Americans, with about half of U.S. adults saying it is "very important" (27%) or "somewhat important" (24%) to have someone in the White House who shares their religious perspective. This view is particularly common among Republicans, among whom roughly two-thirds say it is at least "somewhat important" to them that the president share their religious beliefs. Fewer Americans would be deterred by atheist presidential candidate At the same time, the new survey also finds that the share of Americans who have reservations about voting for an atheist president has been declining over time.

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Filed under: Polling

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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